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DICE/VI 8 ER. 50< 

The Indelible Kind 
' Gadget Man 




The Indelible Kind 
Gadget Man 


Prime-Time Teaser ‘ BRUCE mcallister 5 

The House of Evil C. L. GRANT 22 

Miss Van Winkle STEPHEN BARR 63 

A Report on the Migrations of Educational Materials 


The Worm Shamir Leonard tushnet 77 

Lost ( verse) 

Science: View From Amalthea 
V&SV Marketplace 
Index to Volume Thirty- five 

Cover by Jack Gaughan for ^^Gadget Man^* 

Joseph W. Ferman, publisher Edward L. Ferman, editor 

Judith Merril, book editor Isaac Asimov, science editor 

Andrew Porter, assistant editor Dale Beardale, circulation manager 

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Volume 36, No. 6, Whole No. 211, Dec. 
1968. Published monthly by Mercury Press, Inc., at 50^ a copy. Annual subscription $5.00; 
$5.50 in Canada and the Pan American Union, $6.00 in all other countries. Publication 
office, 10 Ferry Street, Concord, N. H. 03301. Editorial and general mail should be sent 
to 347 East 53rd St., New York, N. Y. 10022. Second Class postage Paid at Concord, N. H. 
Printed in U.S.A. © 1968 by Mercury Press, Inc. All rights, including translations into 
other languages, reserved. Submissions must^ be accompanied by stamped, self-addressed 
envelopes; the Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts. 


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Bruce McAllister spent some time studying aH before his decision to 
commit himself to writing {recommit would be better; his first story 
was published six years ago, when he was sixteen). He tv rote to us 
recently, noting one similarity between painting and writing: "'The 
artist (writer) has gone through many hours of mundane, iinmys- 
terious labor over his work, and he knows the finiteness of much of 
his work; the viewer sees not the brushstrokes of minute-by-minute 
labor, but the illusions of infinite worlds,*' We would add that the 
effectiveness of a work depends on the quality of each brushstroke--- 
or sentence; that there is nothing but excellence in the components of 
this story; and that they form an unusually rewarding experience. 


by Bruce McAllister 

Three years ago it had 
seemed strange to Edna Waverly 
Paulson that the 'last man on 
eartli'' should be a woman; now 
the spark of irony was dead, and 
she was used to it. More than 
that, in three years she had be- 
come, through her driving effort, 
not the last human on earth at 
all: she was a thousand people 
now, with no time for feelings of 
aloneness. She had work to do, 
since being a thousand people in- 
volved a constant labor of mind 
and body. 

The evidence of a thousand 
people's existence was everywhere. 
Four rooms in the yellow-brick 
house she had finally chosen for 

her home were packed with her 
work : puppets and a puppet stage, 
vases, figurines, landscapes, sea- 
scapes, nude paintings done of 
herself with the aid of a mirror, 
short stories, novels, ' commerciar 
scripts, childrens books, fifty- 
seven poems, one television script, 
all pieces she had created herself; 
blueprints for dream houses, fash- 
ion designs in water colors and 
ink, plans for elementary schools, 
high schools and colleges cum cur- 
ricula, all her own ideas and de- 
velopment; a radio receiver, a 
television set, a clock, ones she 
had made from the components of 
receivers, sets and clocks she had 
carefully disassembled. The rooms 


were not all. Behind the yellow- 
brick house, chosen because of its 
deep well, stretched the largest 
vegetable and flower garden in the 
world. Edna knew that was so. 
Whatever she did, she did it best 
in the world; and she did every- 
thing. A few minutes after Edna- 
painter cleaned her brushes and 
emptied the jelly glass of dirty 
turpentine, Edna-florist stepped 
out the back door and cut fresh 
“mums”, great leonine white ones, 
and left them on the back porch 
with a bill scribbled in red ball- 
point ink on a piece of yellow 
scratch paper. Edna-housekeeper 
picked up the flowers immediately 
and placed them in water in an 
aquamarine vase Edna-pottcr had 
molded two years before. 

The ^ pretense never blinded 
Edna, and she was proud of that. 
She knew that her husband 
wouldn't return at night to see her 
“mums”, or w’atch her puppet 
show, or sit during prime-time at 
her TV set. It didn't really matter 
now. The job was to keep things 
rolling. Edna-gardner wx'cded the 
flo\vers of crab grass and thistly 
intruders; Edna-florist cut the 
flowers and delivered them; Ed- 
na-housekeeper arranged them in 
vases produced by the score by 
Edna-potter; Edna-painter de- 
picted the flowTrs with oils or 
water colors; Edna-collector 
bought the painting; Edna-inter- 
ior-decorator hung it on an ofiF- 
white living room wall, hitting her 


finger with the hammer as she 
tried to drive the fang-sized nail 
for the picture hanger; Edna-doc- 
tor anointed the bruise with baci- 
mycin, WTapping it witli gauze 
and adhesive tape. The world w^as 
Amazonia, Edna knew, with no 
place for men, but that never 
meant she forgot Joe or those two 
best years of her life when her 
husband was mayor of San Diego. 

What had happened to the 
world, Edna didn't know. She was 
still guessing, though there was 
some proof for her suspicions. Be- 
fore her visit to the ocean floor in 
the bathysphere Monaco, there 
had been articles in the Union 
about tlie “Big Bug,” a mutated 
virus that could rip through the 
ncr\x-ganglia of higher animals 
and kill in seconds. \\^ere the 
virus to be set loose on the world, 
tlie articles had explained, the 
total time for the extinction of all 
vertebrates would be something 
like seventy-two hours, and all of 
the virus itself w ould be dead after 
seventy-four hours. That had 
seemed to Edna an awfully short 
time for such massive death, and 
even now she didn't know if the 
“Big Bug” had been the cause of 
her present aloneness. Scientists of 
the three great powders had al- 
legedly developed large stockpiles 
of the virus, so it did seem the 
only answer: no animal larger 
than an insect w^as still alive. 
WTien Edna had first walked the 
streets of downtowoi San Diego 



after her return to land, the 
corpses of men, women, children, 
dogs and cats were littering every- 
thing, slouched in corners, on 
sidewalks, in cars and gutters. 
Much less frequent had been the 
sight of dead birds. Even now she 
still could only wonder if any fish 
had survived — whales, porpoises, 
seals and fish. During her first 
year of solitude she had tried to 
find out, by watching the water 
from the piers or from the white 
Coast Guard station at the end of 
Point Loma. Never any '‘opal- 
eyes’* darting among the pilings, 
nor "boils” of bonito, nor the glassy 
backs of whales and the serpen- 
tine formations of seals farther out 
at sea. She hadn’t been to the 
water in months, and she promised 
herself daily that Edna-fisherman 
would soon go to the piers and 
drop or cast her first line, baited 
with worms, cheese or bread. Any 
kind of fish, after the monotony of 
canned meat, would be well re- 
ceived — if fish still existed out 
there. She would have to read up 
on fishing first, she knew, as she 
had read up on architecture, 
ceramics, figure painting, flower 
and vegetable health, and a thou- 
sand other subjects for the thou- 
sand other women living in Ed- 
na’s house. Eventually she would 
even build a car and a house. 
There was time. 

And she should, she realized en- 
thusiastically, build a boat some 
time. In a way the sea still scared 

her — in the same ambivalent way 
it had frightened her since child- 
hood — but the fear was waning. 
Perhaps, she had concluded often 
in the three years, she feared the 
sea because its empty surface ac- 
centuated her aloneness. But to 
have a complete world you had to 
have an Edna-boat-builder> and 
an Edna-lobster-fisherman, and an 
Edna-Coast Guard official. 

The last boat Edna had ridden 
in was a five-horsepower outboard 
motorboat towed behind the La- 
guna. The large white "tuna clip- 
per” style vessel called the Laguna 
was the mother ship for the 
bathysphere Monaco, and it had 
carried the Monaco, four photo- 
graphers, fifteen crew members, 
a scuba diver and Edna herself 
the day she descended to the 
ocean floor between San Diego 
Bay and the distant Coronado 
Islands. That descent into deep 
water, Edna knew, had saved her 
life; the "Bug”-less independent 
air supply of the bathysphere had 
been her savior. She remembered 
only faintly the day the world had 
changed so much; her work in 
these days gave her little time to 
reminisce and strengthen the 
memory of the last day she’d seen 
another living human. 

Edna Waverly Paulson made 
her voyage in the bathysphere 
with Randy Askolph, a curly- 
haired diver at the Navy Elec- 
tronics Lab on Point Loma. Edna*s 
husband Joe, acclaimed by the 


Union as best mayor of San 
Diego since 1945/' had expressed 
his disapproval of her diving plans 
in his usual quiet manner, but 
Edna had persisted. She knew 
that a mayors wife should be 
knowledgeable and experienced, 
especially in connection with her 
husband's own city. The bathy- 
scaphe Trieste — a diving de- 
vice much like a submarine — had 
just arrived in San Diego with the 
famous moviemaker Jacques Cous- 
teau and was dry-docked at the 
Lab's waterfront, while scientists 
from all over attended a conven- 
tion where the renowned French- 
man was guest speaker. Edna had 
seen photographs of the bathy- 
scaphe twice before — a giant yel- 
low bowling ball with two short 
sawed-off 'wings" — and she 
wanted to see the bottom of the 
ocean. Not necessarily the real 
"deeps" of the Pacific Ocean, but 
any ocean bottom as long as she 
was in the bathyscaphe. 

"As the mayor's wife," she told 
Joe more than once, "I should 
be involved with important events 
— not just social events, but sci- 
entific ones, too. The Lab is im- 
portant in San Diego, and 
Cousteau is an international 
figure. I should show an interest 
in this thing, so I'd very much like 
to take a dive in the Trieste/' Joe 
groaned more than once, but still 
made fifteen or twenty phone calls 
in an attempt to arrange a dive 
for his wife. The Trieste was both 


unavailable at this time and much 
too costly to operate for a civilian 
dive like the one Edna was pro- 
posing; or so the proper authori- 
ties responded. 

What Edna ended with was a 
bathysphere — a diving device de- 
pendent for its movement on a 
cable from the mother ship. Not as 
free as the Trieste, but Edna was 
assured that her bathysphere was 
the most modern — it had its own 
air supply from spacious tanks, 
and when fully stocked, it could 
feed and water two people for two 
weeks, all precautions in case the 
cable snapi^ed. But the cables on 
bathyspheres never snapped. They 
were even safer than bathyscaphes. 

Edna and "chauffeur" Askolph 
sat quietly in the Monaco as it was 
lowered smoothly into the water. 
She had wanted Joe to be on the 
Laguita during the dive, but a 
meeting with officials of the Mexi- 
can government had prevented 
that. At least, Edna thought to 
herself, there were five reporters 
waiting for her return to the 

If claustrophobic tendencies 
were anywhere in her, Edna went 
on thinking as the bathysphere 
sank deeper, now was the time for 
them to crop up. The lights, dials 
and metal surfaces of the Monaco's 
interior pressed in on her mind 
like teeth, but she held back her 
complaints in the presence of 
Askolph, who seemed to be used 
to this sort of thing. Soon both of 



them were looking through the 
thick glass window at the ocean 
bottom with its seaweed lace and 
flashes of fish. After what seemed 
only a few minutes, the Monaco 
began its ascent. 

Suddenly all motion ceased, 
and the unexpected waiting be- 
gan. Edna and the diver sat and 
sat in the bathysphere, twelve 
hours turning to twenty-four, and 
eventually a day turning to two, 
then to three. The diver tried 
everything. Communications were 
dead, and when Askolph finally 
admitted that something was very 
wrong, that they were trapped, 
Edna gave up struggling against 
the fact, and accepted the fear 
that came with the fact. There was 
enough drinking water, and most 
importantly, the diver informed 
her that there were eighty-eight 
hours of air in the bathysphere’s 
air supply. But someone had 
neglected to stock the food com- 
partments. They had to get the 
Monaco out of dry-dock so quickly, 
Askolph tried to explain. ‘'So much 
confusion,” he said. With feelings 
of foolishness about a diving ex- 
pedition that she had forced onto 
everyone — feelings honed by the 
cramped quarters and the web of 
fear in her chest — Edna began 
crying, and the diver tried a long, 
frantic apology for their predica- 
ment. Askolph’s words failed even 
more miserably when she contin- 
ued her crying from the pain of 
hunger. Eventually the diver gave 

up in his attempt at consolation, 
and silence reigned in the bathy- 
sphere, unless broken by Edna’s 
sobs. When only two hours’ air 
was left, the diver made his de- 
cision, and even as Edna sat in 
her yellow-brick house three years 
later, she thought of the brave 
diver with a feeling not unlike 
tears gathering behind her eyes. 

The diver, without scuba gear 
or even a wet-suit, slipped into the 
exit chamber of the Monaco, 
sealed the door between Edna and 
himself, and left the bathysphere 
with just the air in his lungs to 
get him to the surface. He did 
make it to the Laguna, and even 
managed to reactivate the controls 
that would pull the Monaco to the 

After Edna managed to open 
the upper hatch on the 
bathysphere and after she reached 
the relative security of the rolling 
deck of the Laguna, she found the 
diver dead, his left arm resting in 
the doorway that led to the de- 
compression chamber. She knew 
then, without having to read up 
on the subject in the library, that 
the diver had died from the 
“bends,” in terrible agony, with 
"Tjubbles in the blood,” caused by 
surfacing too quickly. 

Ignoring her forty-five years of 
age, Edna scrambled quickly into 
the little motorboat roped to the 
stem of the Laguna, and after 
twenty-three tries managed to start 
the engine. The Laguna's crew 


and the photographers were all 
dead, but the sky looked so blue 
and the city of San Diego in the 
grey distance looked so normal 
that Edna's ride to shore in the 
motorboat was free of suspicions 
about the "Big Bug." Even the 
first sight of downtown streets lit- 
tered with soon-to-be-rotting flesh 
brought no questions to her mind, 
only a fiery retching to her 
stomach and throat, and the fact 
of hunger did not occur to her 
until two hours later when she 
fainted on her frontsteps, una- 
ware that twenty-eight feet from 
her was the body of her husband. 

Even when questions eventually 
bloomed in her mind, she ignored 
many of them. She never did set 
eyes upon her two daughters, who 
were dead and deteriorating, she 
knew% somewhere near the Univer- 
sity of California in Westwood. 

Edna-painter set down her No. 
3 pencil and moved her eyes from 
the canvas on tlie easel to the 
mirror where the age-lines of her 
face were echoed back into her 
eyes. The sketch for the oil paint- 
ing seemed finished now: the 
thinness of her lips, the almond- 
shapes of her eyes, the highness of 
her forehead, the waviness of her 
short peroxided hair, all were suf- 
ficiently represented in the sketch. 
Now the soft purity of the white 
gesso and the wisps of pencil lines 
w aited to be fed the next time by 
brushes full of London oil paints. 


Right now Edna-psychologist 
was to begin her daily work, and 
she, as she readily admitted to her- 
self, was really only at a high 
school or first-year college level of 
psych-concepts competency. She 
did remember some fuzzy concepts 
from a one-semester college course, 
but she knew that an extensive 
reading of Freud, Jung, Rogers, 
Mazlow, and half a dozen other 
fundamental w^riters w^as in order 
right away. 

Only one day of study, of 
Freud, behind her, and already 
something interesting had oc- 
curred. She had begun the day be- 
fore with a thin paperback called 
The Psychology of Freud, and the 
chapters on dreams and sexuality 
had made her think of the one 
TV script Edna-writer had created 
the year before. The idea for the 
script had come from a dream, a 
very moving dream that had awak- 
ened her with the surprise of salty 
wetness in her eyes. 

Why those chapters had stimu- 
lated memory of the dream, Edna- 
psychologist didn't yet know, but 
she promised herself that she 
would have the answer before the 
working week was over. All she 
knew was that she had read the 
chapters, and a feeling had struck 
her darkly; that same feeling had 
hooked the script from the past 
and pleaded that she reread it im- 
mediately. She postponed the 
reading until the next day, so that 
Edna-gardner, Edna-painter and 



Edna-housekeeper could do their 
work too; but the dark syrupy feel- 
ing went on to nag her for twenty- 
four hours, offering the first 
respite when she put down her 
pencil and rose from her painting 
stool to search for the TV script. 

In the first storage room, once 
a young boy’s room with its cow- 
boy-and-indian wallpaper but now 
just a dusty room where cardboard 
boxes full of Edna-writer s work 
were strewn like the forgotten 
blocks of some giant infant, Edna- 
psychologist found the lone TV 
script— a piece of writing com- 
posed by Edna-writer after long 
studies of how-to-TV-format arti- 
cles in Writers Digest at the pub- 
lic library. Edna-psychologist be- 
gan reading the script eagerly, 
fingering the pages nervously with 
paint- and earth-stained hands, 
which she managed to ignore when 
she was Edna-psychologist or 

The Turtle 

Edna Waverly Paulson 

First note to self: Climatic condi- 
tions in the projected world ne- 
cessitate the personification and 
deification of inanimate objects, 
and the humanization of a primi- 
tive aquatic reptile. 

Second note to self: The term 
'‘beat” here is used to mean a brief 
unit of time, as a pause in tlie 
duration of some perception. 


Breaking the slight roll of the 
Ocean, Who commands the hori- 
zon, are the top twenty feet of a 
red-brick building, one side of 
Whom faces the fury of the acro- 
megalic afternoon sun — a Sun 
recently bloated by His own im- 
patient metabolism. (Further 
note: the world’s icecaps have 
melted, but that has made the 
Ocean neither cooler nor less salty 
for the heroine.) Since the sub- 
merged land under the Building 
has settled radically, the Building 
leans heavily away from the Sun, 
creating a trim brick beach facing 
the Sun. camera moves in on 
brick beach until in the middle of 
the foreground we see the glinting 
eye, surrounded by sea-green wrin- 
who has halfway emerged from the 
Water to rest her exhausted fore- 
flippers on the beach, on the near- 
est dry bricks, camera pulls 
BACK to include: (1) Turtle 
rocking gently in the Waves, and 
(2) Turtle’s neck bobbing, paral- 
lel to the slope of the brick beach. 
Camera changes to sea turtle 
POINT OF VIEW, what she sees as 
shot through her eyes as the brick 
beach begins to heat-shimmer more 
pleasantly to her pill-size eyes. For 
TEN BEATS wc hear a crescendo 
of SWEET music: partly whimsi- 
cal piccolo, triangle and trumpet; 
partly the secure, melodic sounds 
of bubbles, like a scuba diver 


makes; and partly the distant 
rhythm of waves on a sandy shore. 
OVER the shimmering of the 
bricks, we hear the music fade 
into the voice of the brick 


(a bit alienated, but not at 
all cool; spoken in faint 
gasps not unlike the Turtle's) 
I'm not your island. Breathe. 
But you are welcome here. 
Breathe. Push up farther and 
breathe air. Breathe. 

Shot of TURTLE and building. 
Turtle lifts her drying flippers 
slowly, one after the other in a 
jerky swimming motion, her scaly 
limbs glittering like religio-medi- 
eval gold mosaics, as she pulls her- 
self up the bricks until she is half- 
way on a platonic bronze 
PLAQUE that reads: ‘*Sepana 
Beach Apartments." After one 


stays on Turtle's pill-size eye, 
while with this sight we hear 
the VOICE of the building: 


(still in faint gasps, which 
now seem to be mocking) 

The metal is beating, burn- 
ing your legs. Breathe. Move 
over to the cooler non-slip 
brick again. Breathe. 

As camera pulls back slow- 
ly, we see Turtle press down with 
right foreflipper and turn nearly 
180 degrees, ofiF the bronze onto 


the brick, where she immediately 
nuzzles her ancient snout into the 
hard brick and begins caressing 
the brick with a pushing and part- 
ing motion of her forehmbs, more 
energetically each time, until we 
realize that she believes she is digr 
ging a hole for her eggs, who must 
be buried on the beach, camera 
ZOOMS IN and stays on the wrin- 
kled sunblisters that have been 
added to her neck at each surfac- 
ing since the solar inflation, and 
OVER this sight we hear the 
VOICE of the building: 


Stay. Breathe. Pull your head 
in. Breathe. 


I am breathing, but the new 
sun is beating, burning my 
legs and burning my neck. 

I breathe. But my shell is 
hot. I am breathing easily 
again. I should leave this 
heat now, but I cannot . . • 

stays for several beats on 
Turtle, then we shoot down 
slope of brick building, 
where a dark blur becomes the 
bobbing Turtle face inching to- 
ward the camera, over the fish- 
like opening and closing of her 
beak, we hear her voice : 


(her hoarse words ending in 
gasps, barely intelligible) 



Under the heat of my 
shell . . . 

(BEAT: a pause) 

I am living too much to 
leave you. 


In the hold of me there is 
something w^aiting to see the 

bricks to focus on Turtles nasal 
slits, and over this sight we 
HEAR the VOICE of the building: 


(still in mocking gasps, 
sounding even more like the 

Stay here for that something 
you have. Breathe. I want 
that something you have. 


I breathe. But the beating, 
burning on my legs and shell 
is greater than that some- 
thing now. I breathe. But 
the water sounding behind 
me is cool. I breathe. I must 
go to the cool now. 

BUILDING. Turtle, staring ahead 
like an old woman with a stiff 
neck, puts her left foreflipper for- 
ward, pulls down, and with a loud 
RASPING SOUND tums parallel to 
the Water’s edge. With another 
put, pull and rasping, she faces 
the Ocean and presents the cam- 

as she rocks down the bricks to- 
ward the coolness. On reaching 
the Water, her head bobs down, 
disappears, and we hear a sigh 
which is more like a gasping 
sound as she exhales and inhales 
for the last time before her 
plunge. CAMERA zooms in on 
the back of her shell, to go out 

time in the turtle point of 
VIEW, what she sees as shot 
through her eyes: a submarine 
VIEW OF SUNLIGHT penetrating 
tlie green Water, oveb this point 
of view w^e hear a bubbling, 
and OVER the bubbling we hear: 


(nasalized in its sudden re- 
moteness, and its voice no 
longer mocks) 

Stay! Breathe. Stay. That 
something within \ou will 
die within you and rot deep 
within you. Breathe. Stay! 


You won’t open to me. I try 
you and you keep your cradle 
closed. Open to me for that 
something within my hold. 


I am closed, yes. Breathe. 
But continue to try me, per- 
haps I’ll open, perhaps your 
try will open me. Breathe. 
There is no cradle but I. 




I must go to the cool now . . • 

Stay and breathe! 

The BUBBLING SOUND waxes and 

I am sorry . . . 

(BEAT: a pause) 

But I will come back. 

"lub" SOUND) 

Under the heat of my 
shell . . . 

a "dub" SOUND) 

In the hold of me . . • 

Something waits to see the 

DUB, LUB-DUB," which 
fades out as Water grows 

DISSOLVE: finis 

Edna - psychologist finished 
reading,' but clenched the script 
tightly, her hands in her lap. 
Staring at nothing, in the direc- 
tion of the boxes, she felt a 
crescendoing in her chest. She 
tried to think of nothing, of black 
obsidian voids, cottony colorless 
rivers, black funnels, but the vi- 

sion of the turtle came back again 
and again, and specific words of 
understanding from the chapters 
of Freud began to nag her mind s 
eye: "dreams," "wish-fulfillment," 
"womb," "phallic symbols" . . . 

Edna-writer reread the script 
quickly, then reread it again and 
again, holding out against the 
surge in her chest. The reading 
became her only weapon, and she 
reread, she reread. Suddenly the 
tide within her broke past the 
words of her reading, and 
screamed the truth of the turtle 
at her. Understanding brought 
moisture to her eyes, and the 
moisture brought a fusion of 
Edna-writer and Edna-psycholo- 
gist. Soon all of the women 
meshed into one, and she was 
alone. She thought once deeply of 
her children, and of the waiting 
thing within her, then let her 
head fall forward onto her breast. 
With her eyes blurred from their 
own salt water — the first real 
streams in three years — she looked 
at her hands and saw them as 
scaly flippers. Her head began 
bobbing gently as she indulged 
the moisture; ihe wrinkled skin on 
the back of her neck turned the 
same color red as her eyes, and 
the sounds in her throat reached 
her own ears as the reprimanding 
but soothing rhythm of Ocean 
Waves, beckoning, beckoning 
strongly to a beach fifteen minutes 
away. ◄ 


In the field of science Fic- 
tion or fantasy, morality, — when 
it enters a book at all — is almost 
always either thoughtlessly liberal 
(you can’t judge other cultures) 
or thoughtlessly illiberal (strong 
men must rule) or just plain 
thoughtless (killing people is bad). 
James Blish has taken thought and 
has written a novel called black 
EASTER (Doubleday, $3.95). 
This book is about nothing less 
than the" problem of Evil, and it 
is brilliant. Says Yeats : * 'If God 
is good he is not God/If God is 
God he is not good,” a dilemma 
for which there have been many 
solutions. Blish chooses a hereti- 
cal solution, the Manichean, and 
pushes it to its logical outcome. 
If God is omnipotent and benevo- 
lent, why does Evil exist? And if 
God is not omnipotent, if Evil has 
any kind of positive existence, 
what may not happen? To go 
any further would give away part 
of the book that a reader ought to 
have to himself; plot, in this book, 
is the very embodiment of the 
theme and not merely a diversion- 

ary tactic. It is as beautifully 
worked, as thorough and as com- 
plete a cul-de-sac as I have seen 
in a long time. Blish’s gift for 
relentless, technical detail is at its 
best here — more than tliat, his 
gift for portraying people who are 
passionately fond of logic, knowl- 
edge, and technical detail. His 
equation of black magic with sci- 
ence is no accident; it was Levi- 
Strauss (I believe) who called 
magic a primitive form of science. 
And the motives here are the 
same. In an Author’s Note, the 
author states that "the vast ma- 
jority” of "novels, poems and 
plays about magic and witchcraft 
. . . classify without exception 
as either romantic or playful* 
. . . I have never seen one which 
dealt with what real sorcery actu- 
ally had to be like if it existed.”, 
BLACK EASTER is not in the least 
romantic, nor is it, God forbid, 
playful; in a world of such pe- 
dantic religion and legalistic meta- 
physics, it is indeed better to curse 
God and die. 

* So I think, hut can't find it. 




This horrifying novel may 
sound too special, as I have de- 
scribed it, but the nerve it hits 
is in all of us. Westerners arc all 
unconscious Manieheans; perhaps 
most people everywhere are. One 
has only to remember the common 
reaction to Eichmann’s trial (“a 
fiend in human form’' as if the 
soul and the crimes must some- 
how match in essence^, or tlie 
usual reactions of people to politi- 
cal opponents, to see that most of 
us believe — somewhere, somehow 
— that Evil and Good both have a 
substantive being apart from the 
historically accidental, particular 
acts that people do. Good and Evil 
are conceived as nouns, not ad- 

What one might call the ortho- 
dox Problem of Evil (how can an 
omnipotent God permit it?) is a 
special case of a more general 
Problem of Evil that exists in a 
widespread secular form, particu- 
larly in this country. It is a con- 
ception of Good and Evil that 
severely handicaps Good, and is 
perfectly exemplified by the com- 
monplace, '‘Good guys finish last.” 
Good is here conceived as re- 
straint, inaction, adhering to the 
rules by not allowing oneself to 
do X, Y or Z. Evil is the freedom 
to break the rules and do as one 
pleases, black easter embodies 
this idea also. The "black” magi- 
cian of the book is free (within 
the limits of his craft) to commit 
whatever atrocities he wishes; the 

"white” magician is constrained 
not to meddle, not even to pray 
for the failure of the other's 
schemes. A man not hampered by 
Good would have sliot the "black” 
magician in the back, and a good 
thing, too. For the results of a 
self-limiting Good confronting an 
Evil which does not limit itself 
would be altogether horrible with- 
out the intervention of a benev- 
olent Deity — and that is where 
BLACK EASTER tums on the read- 
er and bites him in the jugular, so 
to speak. It's the theme of High 
Noon, which got out of its dilem- 
ma by changing the terms of the 
argument at the last moment. 
Blish does not let you off so easily. 

The book is dedicated to the 
memory of C. S. Lewis, which I 
find odd. Not only does it knock 
That Hideous Strength into a 
cocked hat; Lewis is more than a 
bit of a Manichean himself, and 
BLACK EASTER, if not a rcductio 
ad absurdurn of the Manichean 
view, is at least a reductio ad 
nauseam. To put it another way, 
to C. S. Lewds the question, "What 
does it feel like to be a demon?” 
is a conceivable question, while to 
Blish it is not. BLACK EASTER 
emphasizes the hideous bore- 
dom, the nothingness, the inhu- 
manness of evil again and again. 
These are not qualities that can 
reside in a human breast, and 
Blish does not try for a subjective 
view of his demons. They remain, 
like avalanches or firestorms, out- 


side the possibility of human com- 
prehension, though not human 

The Problem of Evil — how to 
combat it if one isn't allowed its 
freedom — is unanswerable within 
those terms. Eastern cosmologies 
which do not feature a Creation 
separate from the Creator do not 
have the religious problem; and 
any philosophy which subordi- 
nates the struggle of Good against 
Evil to other matters does not en- 
counter the secular version. If 
what is important in life is to 
understand and share suffering 
(Buddhism, in part) or to become 
part of the transcendental (Tao- 
ism in its original form), then 
Good vs. Evil simply does not 
matter. Indeed, Lao Tzu is sup- 
posed to have admonished Con- 
fucius that “All this talk of good- 
ness and duty . . . unnerves 
and irritates the hearer; nothing, 
indeed, could be more destructive 
of his inner tranquillity.'"^ When 
what matters is one's inner “un- 
mixedness," goodness and duty 
are irrelevant. 

And indeed, the only solution 
for the problem of evil is to get 
outside the terms of the problem. 
This is in fact what is happening. 
In Shaw's misalliance, one 
character says to another, who de- 
mands “justice": 

“A modest sort of demand, 

"^Waley, Arthur, **Three Ways of 
Thought in Ancient China,** Double” 
day Anchor Books, 1956, p. 14 


isn't it? Nobody ever had it since 
the world began . . . Well, 
you've come to the wrong shop 
for it: you'll get no justice here: 
we don't keep it. Human nature 
is what we stock." 

When people begin talking 
this way, when one hears the word 
“values" more often than “morals," 
when books are published with 
titles like life against death 
it is a sign that Good and Evil are 
being redefined. This is happen- 
ing both in the churches and in 
secular life. Interested readers 
may try the early chapters of 
Sartre's saint genet for a radi- 
cal critique of traditional ideas 
about Evil and a radical redefini- 
tion of Evil. 

BLACK EASTER is in itself a 
sign of this change. It is not only 
about an Armageddon; it is also 
part of one. There is no room for 
me to mention the superb things 
in this bare, powerful, immensely 
suggestive book. I will adduce 
only a few: the “white" magician's 
ironically innocent worryings 
about the very problems the book 
embodies; a good magician, “Fa- 
ther Anselm, a brusque engineer 
type who specialized in uncloud- 
ing the minds of politicians"; the 
extraordinarily un-angelic Celes- 
tial Princes, one of whom van- 
ishes with a roar; and best of all, 
Satan's “petulant bass voice, at 
once deep and mannered, like a 
homosexual actor's." 

It's a stunning book. 


“Beyond Good and Evil’* might 
be the subtitle of Michael Moor- 
(Avon, 60 ^), another book about 
Armageddon, but one that has 
abandoned all the usual concerns 
for something that is beautiful 
and strangely moving but very 
hard to describe. Moorcock dedi- 
cates his book to (among others) 
“the Beatles, who are pointing the 
way through,” and the novel can 
best be pictured by analogy with 
their music. The book is not “sav- 
agely satirical,” as the blurb says, 
or 'Tiorribly funny.” Rather it 
shows, like Beatles music, the use 
of pastiche as an artistic princi- 
ple. All the shopworn cliches are 
here : monster computers, mad 
scientists, incest in the mode of 
Byron and Poe, people who live 
on pills and candy, mod clothes, 
expensive cars, James Bond weap- 
ons, hermaphroditism, crowd- 
mindlessness; you name it, the 
book’s got it. But these things are 
not the subject of the book. They 
parade through it like blank-faced 
mannequins in a fashion show. 
They are simple, flat, brightly 
colored objects that Moorcock is 
using to make patterns about 
Something Else, like the Beatles 
song that consists almost entirely 
of the words, ‘Tou say goodbye/ 
And I say hello.” There is the 
same avoidance of dynamics: in 
one case always using the voice 
mezzo-forte, in the other pacing 
each scene so that suspense or 


development is entirely eliminat- 
ed. There is the same deliberate 
flatness of tone, the same balanc- 
ing just this side of satire, the 
same absence of emotional expres- 
siveness that becomes — somehow 
— ra positive force. 

If I tell you that fully one- 
third of the novel is given over 
to describing people’s clothes, you 
will laugh at me; yet it’s true. 
And if I say that the central 
character’s motives change con- 
stantly and have nothing to do 
with the plot, you’ll be put off; 
but that’s true, too. And if I add 
that the plot itself is made up of 
dead-ends, inconsistencies, irrele- 
vancies and unexplained events, 
and that all this is beautiful, 
exciting, and moving, you won’t 
believe^ me. But it’s true. 

Moorcock has apparently de- 
cided to treat characters and plot 
on an equal footing with every 
other element of the book; the re- 
sult is a kind of literary Cubism: 
a shifting, unstable, shallow fore- 
ground in which every element is 
constantly entering into new as- 
sociations with every other 

It is very pleasant to be able 
to review programme and 
BLACK EASTER at the Same time. 
Both are impressive achievements. 
BLACK EASTER has luckily been 
released as general fiction by Dou- 
bleday; unhappily programme 
(which should have been given 
the same treatment) has been put 



out as science fiction, which it 
is not. To call it fantasy would 
be inaccurate also; let me just 
close by noting that the only 
sticky patch in it is a discussion 
that almost deviates into sense 
(pp. 109-111), that the cover is 
abominable, and that the jacket 
blurbs are, as usual, totally mis- 

After such heights, it’s hard to 
come down to the run-of-the-mill. 
Lloyd Biggie s the still small 
day, $4.50) is a good example of 
a bad trend — the short story 
blown up into a novel. I remem- 
ber the short story as a small, 
graceful solution to a small, 
graceful problem. The transition 
to novel length has necessitated a 
great deal of* padding, iwhich 
shows. There are a few interesting 
points about music and a plot that 
is silly and hard to follow, not 
that such a feat is absolutely nec- 
essary. The book is innocuous and 
mildly analgesic, which is (I sup- 
pose) what this sort of book is 
for. It has the kind of respectable 
cover that Michael Moorcock’s 
book should have had. 

neth Buhner (Doubleday, $4.50) 
is more pretentious and fails in 
proportion. There are sinful orgies 
(well, sort of) and thrill-killing 
and a general air of dissolute city 
living that recalls innumerable 
detective movies in which the 

hero Cleans Up City Hall. There 
is an interesting gadget, a device 
by which one person can read 
another’s memories right after the 
second person s death, but Buhner 
docs not explore what such a 
gadget would imply about the 
state of medicine and psychology 
(at least) or what such advanced 
science would mean for sociology, 
city planning, and the whole state 
of society. Its another case of 
extrapolating only one aspect of 
the present and ignoring every- 
thing else. There is a scream-of- 
consciousness page (called in its 
entirety “Chapter Five”) which 
should have been not only cut out 
but burned. The writing generally 
tends to get pretty bad in mo- 
ments of stress. For example: 
“Thickly, Durlston spoke, the 
words dropping like curdled 
blood. Tt’s a radio trigger! And 
they’re not going to have the 
chance to set it off! The Shield 
is there to protect me — me!’ 
. . . he could not control the 
spittle tliat dribbled from the 
corner of his lax mouth — but his 
forefinger tightened on the trig- 
ger — tightened — the narrow red 
creases disappeared from the 
knuckle — the blood flowed away 
— the whiteness of marbled death 
showed — 

The plot ends witli a sudden 
leap into the incredible, a real 
breach of contract between read- 
er and writer. 

* p. 201 



Philip Jose Farmer's flesh 
(Doubleday, $3.95) is '*a revised 
and expanded version of a novel 
by the same name first published 
by Galaxy Publishing Corp." The 
original copyright is 1960. It is 
my uninformed, outsiders opin- 
ion that the revision and expan- 
sion have been minimal and that 
the book might have been very 
good if more time had been spent 
on it. It is a satire (part of the 
time), an adventure story (part 
of the time), a celebration of 
primal appetites (ditto) and a 
primitive society created out of 
whole cloth along the lines of 
Frazers golden bough (like- 
wise). Farmer seems never to 
have settled on a consistent atti- 
tude toward his material; none of 
the versions of the book listed 
above manage to mesh with any 
of the others. Most promising but 
worst achieved is the celebration 
of primal appetites (eating and 
sex) — arch when it should be 
coarse and coyly evasive when it 
should be specific. The book keeps 
heading into erotic scenes and 
shying off at the last minute. And 
some very unpretty things lie un- 
der the ‘"comic" surface: mass 
castration, death by rape, and the 
ripping apart of children, to name 
a few. The book gives the im- 
pression of a naturally austere, 
cultivated and somewhat morbid 
sensibility trying to portray Ra- 
belaisian simphcity and hearti- 

ness with all the forced go of an 
unhappy conventioneer. There are 
vivid flashes of imagination that 
no one but Philip Farmer could 
even come near, but even so, it 
isn't a good book. It does his 
reputation particular disservice 
because it could have been one. 
Readers especially interested in 
Farmer can simply consider it 
early Farmer and read it as such. 
Others will probably wish it were 
less uneven and confused. 

— Joanna Russ 

C. L. Grant is tioenty-s^ix years old and presently lives in Neiv Jer- 
sey, where he teaches American Literature to high school juniors. 

managed to infiltrate Ray Bradbury into the eourse {with 
great success) and am planning to make a flank attack next year 
with H. Ellison and T- Sturgeon.*' Mr. Grant's first published story 
is a mock-horror yarn that transmits, in a highly enjoyable prose 
narrative, the same sort of outrageous macabre humor that Gahan 
Wilson does so well in his drawings. 


by C. L. Grant 

It^has been several psyche- 
wrenching w^eks since my death, 
now, and only recently has my 
scientific and literary training 
come to the fore and enabled me 
to adjust to my new life, so to 
speak. I pen this chronicle of my 
demise not only as a warning to 
others that Evil still lurks 'round 
the hearths of men, but also to 
give me, David Conner, the cour- 
age and strength to carry on, since 
suicide would hardly improve my 

The summer of 19 — was 
dreadfully torrid and frightfully 
humid. Since I was vacationing 
on the New Jersey coast, I antici- 
pated the latter, but the former 

enervated me to such an astonish- 
ing degree that, truthfully, I was 
more than ready to pack it all in 
when I received a visitor at my 
modest seven-room cottage. It was 
Friday, and I had three fans going 
simultaneously in the living room, 
whose furniture consisted only of 
a luxuriant day bed, several cane 
chairs and an unused television 
set. The air, though moving, re- 
fused to cool me; tlie ice in my 
Scarlet O'Haras barely hung 
around long enough to cause con- 
densation on the outside of my 
glass, and the one thing I did not 
want was someone else raiding my 
already depicted stock of cubes. 
When I swung open llie door. 




however, all my misgivings van- 
ished in an instant. Standing on 
the threshold was the loveliest 
creature I had yet seen. Her hair 
was fair and fell in gentle curves 
to her deeply tanned shoulders. 
Her body was slim, yet well-pro- 
nounced where her gay, two-piece 
swimsuit clung tenaciously, per- 
haps even timidly, to her frame. 
But her face! Even now my blood 
races when I see before me those 
limpid brown eyes, that tiny, 
slightly upturned nose, and a 
mouth that seemed forever poised 
in an eternal pout. 

'‘May I help you?’* I asked, not 
knowing what I know now and 
stepping aside as she glided inside 
and perched lightly on the arm of 
a chair. 

"You are David Conner, I pre- 

"I am, indeed,” I answered, 

"Lord Ness?” 

"Well, not actually,” I replied. 
"Since American law forbids me 
to accept a foreign title. I’m afraid 
I must forego that highly desirable 
honor. But it is true, my grand- 
uncle was Lord Ness, lately de- 
ceased through cirrhosis of the 
liver, and it is also true that I 
have inherited his lands, though 
his title must find refuge else- 

"Fine,” she said. "Why don't 
you close the door and come sit 
beside me.” 

To say the least, I was startled 

by her abrupt manner, but unac- 
countably I did as I was bidden. 
We gravitated to the sofa, and in 
spite of the distance between us, I 
could feel the temperature of the 
room rising with the presence of 
her lithe body. 

Her profile was even more re- 
markable than her head-on view, 
and I took fond pleasure in staring 
quite frankly at her as she leaned 
forward to pick up my newly 
poured drink, and I must confess 
that my gaze was drawn from her 
delightful face to the subtle curves 
and sensuous arch of her back. 
My God! I thought. What sub- 
tlety! What sensuousness! She in- 
terrupted my wanderings, how- 
ever, by quickly straightening her- 
self. A gentle pink tongue mois- 
tened her moist lips, and she 
folded her doll-like hands in her 

"I don’t mean to disturb you, 
Mr. Conner, but I was told by the 
local tavern owner that you are 
an important man in the field of 
literature, particulary that which 
deals with the extrapolation of 
science into the future.” 

I mumbled a modest demurral 
and blushed. I was dying for a 
drink but did not wish to reach in 
front of her for my half empty 
glass and violate her concentra- 

"I came to you,” she continued, 
"because of my uncle, Howard 
Fairview. You may already know 
of him as the man who owns the 



brown mansion not three miles 
down the coast from here. Because 
of your knowledge, Mt. Conner, I 
have come to you for help.’' 

'‘But how can I assist you. Miss 
. . , uh . . .” 


“Yes. I’m just a man who puts 
words to paper, not a full-fledged 

“But you nmst have some 
knowledge of it or else your pieces 
wouldn’t be so authoritative.’’ 

I bowed my head to the compli- 
ment. “Perhaps I will grant you 
that much, Miss . . . uh . . .’’ 


“Right. Why don’t )ou lean 
back and tell me all you can. If I 
can help you, I will be more than 
happy to do so.” 

At my words, a light seemed to 
glow behind her eyes, and as she 
rested against the sofa’s thick cush- 
ions, I twisted myself around in 
order to drink in her beauty as she 

It appeared that the young girl’s 
uncle was a collector of mythology 
of a rather fantastic nature. After 
spending years in the world’s great 
libraries, he realized that, apart 
from popular fiction, there existed 
no definitive work on the East 
European myths. Thus he spent a 
great fortune in traveling through 
the back country of the Balkan 
lands, amassing a ponderous 
sheath of interviews which his 
niece helped him catalogue into a 

“Another Bullfinch,” I mut- 
tered, not aware that I was speak- 
ing aloud. 

“No,” she said. “He’s a Pisces, 
but that has nothing to do with 
my story.” 

I murmured an apology and she 
continued, drawing a bleak pic- 
ture of her uncle, residing for the 
past five years in that mansion by 
the sea, pouring over notes and 
translating books he had gleaned 
on his travels. Apparently he 
worked at night because the heat 
of the day prohibited any exhaus- 
tive reasoning or clear thinking. 
Of late, however, he had taken to 
long walks by the sea after the 
household had retired for the eve- 
ning. Miss Fairview was naturally 
worried, and the thought of the 
dear old man wandering alone 
while the waves crashed darkly at 
his tired feet brought tears to her 

“But what,” I asked innocently, 
“does this have to do ^vith me?” 

Miss Fairview looked at me for 
the first time since her pathetic 
tale began. “There . . . there 
have been ... I don’t know 
how to explain it.” 

“Strange happenings,” I 
prompted, and we both shivered. 
It was then that I realized how 
chilled the evening had become, 
and I hadn’t even turned oft the 
fans! Quickly, I rose to my feet 
and performed the necessary 
chores to keep out the night breeze. 
We looked at each other for sev- 



eral moments then, and she 
dropped her eyes slowly. I oflFered 
her a drink, but she declined with 
a delicate wave of her hand and 
the motion brought her attention 
to her watch. 

“Oh my!’* she exclaimed, and 
jumped to her feet. “I must be 
getting home before Uncle How- 
ard gets worried.** 

We stood together in the door- 
way, the ocean roaring a sym- 
phony to the stars beyond the 
dunes that began where my red- 
tiled patio ended. Gently she 
placed a hand on my arm and 
without a sound disappeared into 
the darkness. I turned to re-enter 
the house when I heard quiet foot- 
steps behind me. Whirling around 
in an attitude of defense, I saw 
Miss Fairview crossing the tiles. 
She smiled sadly and disappeared 
into the darkness. Poor child, I 
thought. Her excitement has dis- 
rupted her sense of direction. With 
a strange, yet not unpleasant feel- 
ing stirring within me, I took my- 
self to bed and slept without 
dreaming, not realizing what 
nightmares would come from such 
a gentle beginning. 

The following day was a gloom- 
filled one. Though it had ceased 
raining by noon, heavy gray clouds 
continued to drift in from the 
horizon, bringing a dampness that 
made everything sticky to the 
touch. I attempted to pen several 
thousand words to placate my im- 

patient publisher, but the ink 
would not flow. I considered 
drinking myself into one hell of a 
stupor, but my admirable capacity 
for liquor prevented even that. It 
was then that I gave birth to a 
dehghtful idea. Why not, I said 
to myself, visit Miss Fairview and 
her uncle! I noted that we had 
failed to come to grips with her 
problem; that, in truth she never 
did explain what her dire need 

I decided that the walk would 
do my husky legs good, and I set 
off. There were few houses in the 
area; only eight, in fact, lay be- 
tween my bungalow and the Fair- 
view mansion. Lights showed 
dimly behind the windows of a 
few, but life seemed to have de- 
serted the Atlantic shore until the 
sun should reappear and warm 
the sand. My thoughts, too, were 
lifeless: reviewing half-heartedly 
the inheritance I desired to accept 
yet was forced to decline; and my 
tragic affaire with a sensuous 
young Philadelphian that ended 
disastrously when she, being high- 
strung and a Main Liner, took 
that final, soul-shattering leap 
from the top of the Walt Whitman 
Bridge into the icy Delaware River, 
I choked back a sob when my 
mind cast before me a picture of 
her lithe, heavily clad body float- 
ing peacefully, face down, in the 
dark waters. It had happened four 
years ago and still I searched for 
the means to drive her from my 


thoughts, but the possible theo- 
logical implications alone drove 
me to distraction! At that moment 
I noticed that I had arrived at my 
destination, and I prepared to 
make myself known. 

The Fairview mansion was a 
foreboding sight even to the most 
esthetic of eyes: three stories high 
with cedar shingles browned by 
the relentless spray of the sea; the 
roof peaked slightly off-center and 
slated a dull, splotchy orange. 
Four windows were on the upper 
floor, curtained in black and 
coated with a layer of salt not 
even the purest of solutions could 

As I approached the vast porch 
that apparently circumscribed the 
first story, the huge yellow and 
gold double doors swung open and 
Miss Fairview came running out 
to meet me. She wore a lavender 
gown that was apparently cut 
three and a half inches above her 
tender knees, and her wonderful, 
fair hair was tied back and braided 
into a single strand tipped with a 
violet bow. Before I could com- 
mence my greeting, she lunged at 
me, flinging her arms wantonly 
about my waist, burying her 
smooth face in my muscularly 
naked chest and sobbing as if the 
world had divested itself of all its 
grief and had placed the entire 
Herculean burden on her frail, 
tanned shoulders. 

'"Dear Miss Fairview,” I admon- 
ished her, with a sternness my 


palpitating heart did not feel. 
‘'Control yourself and let us go in- 
side where I might better grasp 
the problem at hand.” 

Miss Fairview wiped her eyes 
with a lace sleeve and nodded. 
When the doors closed behind us, 
I found myself in a magnificent 
room whose length and breadth 
matched that of the house. Nearly 
half a dozen bejeweled chande- 
liers hung from silver chains in a 
glittering circle above the rugless 
floor. A veritable forest of richly 
upholstered chairs and exotically 
shaped divans competed with tap- 
estries displaying scenes ranging 
from the romantically pastoral to 
the surrealistically erotic. And in 
the center of this palatial room 
was a structure I could not believe 
was possible. A single brass pole 
not unlike those used by our fire- 
fighting brigades! I blinked once 
and saw tiny rungs affixed at reg- 
ular intervals in the glittering 
shaft, and since they were of the 
same texture and hue as the pole 
itself, they were cleverly hidden 
except to the closest of scrutiny. 

Miss Fairview led me to a divan 
just large enough to seat us com- 
fortably, and following what was 
obviously a household custom, we 
put our feet up on an exquisite 
ivory and mauve coffee table. 

“How devilishly clever,” I de- 
clared, nodding toward the pole. 

“Yes,” she replied. “My uncle 
believes in physical fitness, and so 
all stairwells were eschewed in the 



building of this house. I see tliat 
you're also in favor of fitness, 

Noting that she was admiring 
my naked chest, I smiled mod- 
estly, *‘By nature I'm a modest 
man, Miss Fairview — " 

'Tlease, call me Carlotta." 

‘"Very well, Carlotta. I believe a 
man should keep a healthy body, 
and since he’s a creature of nature, 
it would be improper to remain 
hidden from natural things, so to 
speak. But enough of me, my 
child, I've come to help you be- 
cause your eloquent plea last night 
could not help but move the ston- 
iest heart." 

“Oh, bless you!" she cried, and 
after a brief but distressing bout of 
nervous hiccoughs, she resumed 
her tale. 

Her uncle, she said, had be- 
come so imbued with the legends 
of middle Europe that he began to 
have delusions of persecution by 
all manner of ministers and 
priests. As if that weren’t enough, 
he shifted not three months ago 
into a more horrifyingly sublime 
phase. In his own fiendishly dis- 
torted mind, he had since enter- 
tained the notion that he was one 
of the Undead! My eyes widened 
at this revelation, but I tactfully 
refrained from speaking, 

“Every night," she half whis- 
pered, “Uncle Howard goes ofiE 
into the night, prowling about as 
if he were a wolf. What if the 
neighbors should find out? They 

would surely believe him deranged 
and have him taken away!" 

Tears flowed from her brown 
eyes, and I placed an arm around 
her shoulder in an attitude of 
comfort. I asked as gently as I 
could if I could meet her uncle, 
but she demurred, saying that 
since taking to nocturnal peram- 
bulations, he slept during the day. 
Thus finding ourselves with time 
on our hands, Carlotta and I ex- 
changed pleasantries, and soon she 
was laughing the time away in 
spite of the gloom-laden atmos- 
phere that had settled over us 
while she had unraveled her fright- 
ful story. 

Afterward, we lay side by side 
on the knotty pine floor as I di- 
vulged the story of my suicidal 
love, and I'm not ashamed to say 
that bitter tears sprang to my eyes 
when I described her lithe, bloated 
body lying placidly on the cold 
slab in the morgue. Carlotta’s 
tanned arms encircled my head 
tenderly and drew it to her bosom 
while she murmured her sympa- 
thy in my ear. How can I describe 
the aroma of perfume, the softness 
of the heavenly cushion that 
rocked ever so gently beneath her 
wafer-thin gown? Her hands were 
soft in my hair, and her empathic 
tears mingled freely with mine. 

Suddenly she sat up, conse- 
quently letting go of my head and 
causing it to fall inadvertently to 
the floor where I received a stun- 


ning blow from a knot that pro- 
truded archly from its wooden bed. 
When my eyes cleared, she was 
standing by the pole in a pose of 
intense concentration. I rose to 
my feet and tiptoed to her. 

*'Hell be awake soon,” she said. 
'‘Come with me now, and perhaps 
with your scientific lore and 
knowledge of human behavioral 
patterns, you can save him from 

I nodded and, grasping the 
rungs firmly, followed her to the 
next floor. It was an arduous 
climb, especially since I was forced 
to keep my head turned upward 
to note how Carlotta Fairview was 
doing, ready at a moment’s notice 
to sacrifice my life lest she slip. 

Finally, I hoisted myself 
through the hole in the ceiling 
and found myself in a room fully 
as large as the one below, the 
single difference, among others, 
being that what light there was 
flickered from nine sinister black 
candles set in a diamond candela- 
bra that rested on a gleaming black 
cofiin inside an irregular circle of 
nine black chairs. 

Obviously, I thought, an ar- 
rangment of some cabalistic im- 
port. But what fiefdom of Hell had 
I stumbled upon? Instantly, I 
vowed to free Carlotta from this 
highly unstable environment! 

In spite of my nervousness, our 
stealthy approach to the coflBn was 
silent. The air was stifling hot and 
I barely heard her whisper, "His 


fantasy has led him to that hideous 
place as his bed. Oh, David,” she 
cried, “can you help him?” 

Though doubts reeled through 
my whirling brain, I bravely as- 
sured her I could. 

The atmosphere in that hellish 
room, combining with the wind 
that seemed to thunder directly 
above our heads, made me tense. 
Perspiration beaded on my un- 
lined brow, and my pre-shrunk 
jeans grew too tight for adequate 
comfort. My facial expression 
must have betrayed my feelings 
because Carlotta laughed then, al- 
most playfully. 

“It’s all right, David. I know 
the feeling. He should be awake 
soon, anyway.” 

As if her words were a com- 
Biand, a piercing screech shattered 
the air, and the coffin’s lid began 
to rise. A fat hand snaked slowly 
over the sleek side, and when the 
lid was upright, a man rose from 
within. He was about fifty years 
of age, quite heavy, and there 
wasn’t a single hair on his entire 
head! His eyes were bright, and a 
big smile creased his ruddy face. 
Without speaking, he lifted him- 
self laboriously out of his resting 
place and bounded over to us. 

“Hi!” he greeted, paternally 
kissing his niece’s cheek while 
taking my outstretched hand in a 
firm, masculine grip. “Lousy night, 
isn’t it? You must be a friend of 
Lotta’s. Fairview. Howard Fair- 
view, scientist,” 



‘‘David Conner, author,’' I re- 
ciprocated, and bowed slightly 
while trying to get my hand back. 

“You a health nut or some- 



“Sorry. You aren't wearing 
much, so I figured you’re a health 
bug, or — ” A frown crossed his 
cherub-like face as he looked from 
his niece to me, and I was puzzled 
until I grasped the nature of his 
innuendo. When I had assured 
him that nothing had passed be- 
tween Lotta and myself, he 
laughed and waved a hand to the 
chairs I’d noticed upon arriving. 

“Have a seat, Conner. So you’re 
a writer. Like what?” 

“Oh, Moon, Mars, Saturn, Plu- 
to, Venus, and Uranus/' 

I was sorely tempted to add the 
nine volumes of my collected short 
works because he was definitely 
unimpressed. However, as the con- 
versation had reached a momen- 
tary lull, I impulsively added 
The Werewolf of St. Patrick's. 
With that, his eyes lighted up and 
he slapped his knees. 

“Vo7/ are the author of that 
magnificent novel? You? Well/' 
he said. “You can’t tell a book and 
all that. Glad to have you here, 
Mr. Conner.” His voice dropped 
then, and I could see that here, 
sitting before us in natty tails and 
scarlet-lined cape, was a lonely 
old man. I vowed then and there, 
for Carlotta's sake, to rid him of 

his fantasies and spare his niece 
further heartbreak; and so, hoping 
to get the story from his own lips, 
I tried to steer the conversation 
toward my goal. Had I but known 
the devilish truth! 

I skillfully brought my interest 
to the fore by remarking on the 
unusual decor of his room. “And 
where,” I added, “docs Carlotta 

“Oh, around,” he answered 

Then, as if sparked by my prod- 
ding, he launched into his narra- 
tive. As the black candles glowed 
darkly in the ill-lit room, my spine 
tingled when he regaled me with 
his adventures in the misty Balkan 
lands, and as he spoke I could see 
his eyes take on a fanatical gleam. 
I didn’t even realize that Carlotta 
had given me a glass of wine, so 
enthralled was I by the morbid 
pictures he drew of the foul rites 
still practiced by Satanists, the 
vampires that continued to drink 
the flowing red blood of their vic- 
tims, and the werewolves whose 
evil yet tragic lives brought tears 
to his eyes. In fact, he was so 
persuasive that I found myself lis- 
tening without questioning the 
veracity of his suspect truths. 

Here, I contemplated as I 
sipped the cool red liquid, is a 
man so steeped in his own re- 
search that he is no longer able to 
disassociate himself from it! Is it 
possible tliat a scientist such as 
Howard Fairview, a man of the 



progressive twentieth century, can 
so lose himself in his work that he 
casts away the real world for the 
dark fantasy of hellish legend? 
Yet it must be so, for here was 
the horrible evidence right before 
my very eyes! 

Suddenly Carlotta put a shak- 
ing hand over her lovely eyes and 
screamed, '‘Stop! Stop it, please!'* 

At once I sprang to my feet and 
rushed to her quivering side. Fair- 
view frowned at the interruption, 
but concern swiftly followed irri- 
tation and the gleam faded from 
his eyes. Then, just as Carlotta 
calmed down, he suddenly 
clutched at his throat from which 
a curious gagging sound emitted, 

“Sir, what is it?" I inquired 
anxiously, rushing to his heaving 
side. “Something you ate?" 

“Not . . . .not yet," he 

wheezed. “I always get this way 
just before the big move." 

Puzzled by this cryptic state- 
ment, I looked to Carlotta for an 
explanation, only to find that she 
had fainted and was now slipping 
rapidly to the floor. Where, I 
shouted to myself, has sanity 
flown? Suddenly I spied a swirl- 
ing fusQOus mist gathering in a 
single area just outside the dia- 
bolical circle of chairs. Fairview 
cried out when he followed my 
gaze and joined me beliind the 
casket, his face pale, his lower lip 
trembling as he tried to speak. 

“Quickly!" he said, “what's the 

Consulting my watch in the 
dim light of the candles, I an- 
swered, “August fifth." 

“My God!" he gasped and 
grabbed me by the arms, forcing 
me to look into his eyes. I saw at. 
once that here was one of the 
most frightened men I had ever 
encountered. “Listen to me, Con- 
ner. Without knowing it, Lotta 
has made the biggest bloody blun- 
der of her life by bringing you 
Jiere. This is Stag's Eve! A night 
when all bachelor Undeads gather 
to claim one of their own and an 
innocent virgin for rites so terri- 
fying I daren't begin to tell you. 
An old hag in the Carpathian 
Mountains told me about it, say- 
ing that every leap year one of 
the unmarried Undead and an in- 
nocent virgin must be taken for 
rites so disgusting she wouldn't 
tell me about them. I can see that 
you don't believe me, but every 
word is true. 

“As God is my witness, Conner, 
I ... J am to be chosen this 

I was stunned! My scientific 
background reeled under the im- 
pact of his foreshadowing words. 
Staring with foreboding and hor- 
ror at the girl on the floor, I said, 
“And . . . and the virgin?" 

“Hell, no," he profaned. ‘Tou 
got to be kidding. In those 
clothes? Look, son, there're only 
three of us here, and two of us 
obviously aren't innocent, and one 
of us is definitely Undead. Simple 



math should make the rest easy, 
even for your literary brain.’’ 

Good heavens, what could I 
say? It was true! For years, after 
1 lost my first love in a train 
wreck in Lionel, Pennsylvania, I 
had fabricated a purely platonic 
relationship with the world, and 
now I could sec the horrifying 
consequences of my actions. Fair- 
view was, my mind finally ad- 
mitted, tlie Undcad, and I . . . 
I was . . . Lord, how ignomin- 

'‘Now look, Conner,” Fairview 
was saying. “There’s only one way 
to get out of this mess. I read 
about it last night. The old witch 
did tell me that we can be spared 
if one of us, that’s you, does battle 
with whatever comes.” 

“Fll do it!” I cried, leaping to 
my feet with a surge of power that 
coursed through my muscles and 
cleared my reeling brain. “But 
only if you will let me have Lolta 
for my wife.” 

“Suit yourself, she’s over 
t^venty-one.” And he pulled from 
the folds of his cloak a mighty, 
steel-blue blade such as would be 
the envy of the heroic Porthos 

Grasping the hilt tightly in 
what I assumed was the proper 
manner — thank God for Douglas 
Fairbanks! — I steeled myself for 
the creature’s appearance; yet, 
when the mist’s transformation 
was complete, I staggered back at 
the sight. 

It was huge, towering a good 
fifteen feet above me. It had the 
head of a ewe, the burning red 
eyes of an anaconda, the brutal 
tusks of a prime-sized mammoth, 
the chest and arms of Marilyn 
Monroe, and hydrant-like legs 
scaled with ugly gleaming purple 
and red scales tapering suggestively 
into what looked like solid gold 
horseshoes. From what depths of 
Hell did this loathsome creature 
emerge? Surely Dante and Poe 
togetlier in their wildest dreams 
could not imagine such a fear- 
some phantom of foul evil. 

The thing looked down at me 
and laughed noiselessly, fts lower 
jaw working feverishly. It was ob- 
viously on to what my plans were, 
especially after I picked up one of 
the chairs witli an isometric-strong 
hand and flung it deftly at tlie 
monster, striking it square in its 
chest, and prompting me to say 
“excuse me” had it occurred under 
less ti-ying circumstances. 

Then , as the wind rumbled 
through the eaves, the ocean 
roared in its bed, and the air filled 
with the stench of sulplnir, the 
monster reached out a gargantuan, 
yet relatively dainty hand in an 
effort to snare me, but with the 
speed of an expert swordsman, I 
pinked it neatly in the center of 
its palm. The Hell-montage bel- 
lowed its rage and charged, scat- 
tering chairs, coffin, uncle and 
niece in its wake. Because of its 
size and the confinement of the 


room, the thing’s agility was luck- 
ily impaired, and I was able to 
duck between its legs before it 
could crush me underfoot. I knew 
then that mere epee dexterity 
would not foil that hideous thing, 
and so, to give me strength and 
peace of mind, I uttered lines from 
the first prayer that came to me. 

*'And grant me the wisdom to 
know the difference.*’ 

Filled with a resurgence of 
spirit, I lunged forward, my shin- 
ing blade determined to do justice 
to its forebears, Excalibur, Wil- 
kinson, and a host of others that 
helped bring evil to its knees. 

“Geronimo!” I shouted. 

We met with such a resounding 
crash that the hilt of my sword 
was shattered in my hand. A ter- 
rific wind hurricaned through the 
room, lights spun dizzily before 
my eyes, and with Carlotta’s name 
on my bruised lips, I sank into 
fathomless unconsciousness. 

When I awoke, I found myself 
lying on a downstairs sofa. I tried 
sitting up but a piercing throb 
forced me to recline quickly. I 
must have slept then, for when 
next I opened my eyes, Carlotta 
was bending over me, a damp 
cloth in her lovely hand. At that 
moment the memory of the battle 
flooded my memory. 

'That . . . that fiend from 
Hell,” I gasped. 

"Dead, David. Your sword did 
its heroic duty.” 


"And . . . and your uncle?” 

"Upstairs, sleeping. It’s two in 
the afternoon.” 

I had failed! 

Defeating that mammalian 
monster had not freed Howard 
Fairview from his dreadful fate. I 
cursed my ineptitude until my lips 
were closed by the touch of her 
tiny fingers. It was then that my 
love tore my breast asunder. I 
wanted to take her in my arms 
and profess my devotion, leave 
that house of evil, never to return. 
I said as much to her, but she 
smiled sadly and gently placed 
two fingers on my throat just be- 
low the jaw-line. Her sad brown 
eyes spoke more than the words 
that came reluctantly from her 
moist lips, but the horror of it 
drove me to my feet, and I raced 
across the room and flung open 
the double doors. Carlotta 
screamed as the sunlight poured 
in and I was blasted by what must 
have been a thousand lightning 
bolts. By sheer superhuman effort 
I managed to close the doors and 
walk dejectedly back to the divan. 

It was obvious what had hap- 
pened: the diabolical uncle had 
tricked me, even to using the mon- 
ster, into coming here so that my 
life’s blood might mingle freely 
in his veins with that of the others 
he had victimized. A brilliant ca- 
reer as a writer nipped in the 
bud! And worse, the lovely Car- 
lotta lost to me forever, for she 
was still a mortal! 

Tin*: HOUSE oe evil 

'‘Hush, David,” she murmured 
lovingly as I bemoaned my fate. 
"It's not as bleak as you think.” 

"But darling,” I ventured. 
"What’s to become of my books?” 

"You can still write, dearest. 
And think of the tremendous ad- 
vantages you’ll have over the oth- 
ers in your field. The experiences 
you’ll have, the stories you’ll be 
able to weave. You’ll be another 
Poe. Think of it! And in my own 
small way, I can help. I can mail 
manuscripts, lick stamps, even at- 
tend conferences that cannot be 
held at night or on rainy days.” 

Hope flowed like a flood within 
me as I realized the gold mine 
with which I had now been en- 

"But darling, what about you?” 
I asked. "If I must write in the 
evenings and sleep during the day- 
light hours, what will become of 
• . . of . . . of our love?” 

Carlotta placed a tender palm 

against my burning check, and I 
could see that here, too, would be 
an answer. 

"Today, my dearest, is Sunday. 
A holy day, if you remember.” 

I frowned, trying to plumb the 
depths of her feminine logic. She 
would not prompt me, but instead 
began to hum. Like a flash, the 
solution came to my tongue. 

"I . . . that is, we of the trade 
don’t work on Sunday, do we?” 

"No, my muscular darling.” 

I could have sung with joy! 

"And you’ll be here on Sun- 

"Yes, my mighty warrior.” 

I smiled at the maidenly blush 
that graced her cheeks, and I took 
her hands in mine, 

"You promise? You’ll always be 
here on Sunday?” 

"Always,” she whispered, and 
I knew that, though dead, I was 
. . . we wxre, would be always 

Zenm Hendersons stories about the visitors to Earth known 
simply as ''The People” have been running almost as long as 
the magazine itself, a remarkable record that is due largely 
to the variety of the individual adventures and the warmth 
of the writing. This story of an "unusual” school child and 
an orbital mission in serious trouble is the first story of The 
People in two years; ifs a pleasure to have them bach 


by Zenna Henderson 

TvE always been a DOWN'TO- 
earth sort of person. On re-read- 
ing that sentence, my mouth 
corners , lift. It reads differently 
now. Anyway, matter-of-fact and 
just a trifle sceptical — that's a 
further description of me. Tve 
enjoyed — perhaps a little wist- 
fully — other people's ghosts, and 
breath-.taking coincidences, and 
flying saucer sightings, and table 
tiltings and prophetic dreams, but 
I've never had any of my own. I 
suppose it takes a very determined, 
or very childlike — not childish — 
person to keep illusion and wonder 
alive in a lifetime of teaching. 
''Lifetime" sounds awfully elderly- 
making, doesn't it? But more and 
more I feel that I fit the role of 

observer more than that of partici- 
pant. Perhaps that explains a little 
of my unexcitement when I did 
participate. It was mostly in the 
role of spectator. But what a par- 
ticipation! What a spectacular! 

But, back to the schoolroom. 
Faces and names have a habit of 
repeating and repeating in your 
classes over the years. Once in a 
while, though, along comes one of 
the indelible kind — and they mark 
you, happily or unhappily beyond 
erasing. But, true to my nature, 
I didn't even have a twinge or pre- 

The new boy came alone. He 
was small, slight, and had a 
smooth cap of dark hair. He had 
the assurance of a child who had 




registered many times by himself, 
not particularly comfortable or 
uncomfortable at being in a new 
school. He had brought a say- 
nothing report card, which, I 
noted in passing, gave him a low 
grade in Group Activity Participa- 
tion and a high one in Adjustment 
to Redirective Counseling — by 
which I gathered that he was a 
loner but minded when spoken to, 
which didn’t help much in placing 
him academically. 

*‘VVhat book were you reading?” 
I asked, fishing on the shelf behind 
me for various readers in case he 
didn’t know a specific name. 
Sometimes we get those whose 
faces overspread with astonish- 
ment and they say, ^Reading?” 

*ln which of those series?” he 
asked. 'Xook-and-say, ITA, or 
phonics?’* He fro^vned a little. 
'We’ve moved so much and it 
seems as though every place we go 
is different. It does confuse me 
sometimes.” He caught my sur- 
prised eye and flushed. "I’m really 
not very good by any method, even 
if I do know their names,” he 
admitted. "I’m functioning only 
on about a second-grade level.” 

"Your vocabulary certainly isn't 
second grade,” I said, pausing over 
the enrollment form. 

"No, but my reading is,” he 
admitted. "I’m afraid — ” 

"According to your age, you 
should be third grade.” I traced 
over his birthdate. This carbon 
wasn’t the best in the world. 

"Yes, and I suppose that count- 
ing everything, I'd average out 
about third grade, but my reading 
is poor.” 

"Why?” Maybe knowing as 
much as he did about his academic 
standing, he’d know the answer to 
this question. 

"I have a block,” he said, "I’m 
afraid — ” 

"Do you know what your block 
is?” I pursued, automatically prob- 
ing for the point where communi- 
cation would end. 

"I — ” his eyes dropped. "I’m not 
very good in reading,” he said. I 
felt him folding himself away from 
me. End of communication, 

'Well, here at Rinconcillo, 
you’ll be on a number of levels. We 
have only one room and fifteen 
students, so we all begin our sub- 
jects at the level where we function 
best — ” I looked at him sharply. 
"And work like mad!” 

'Tes, ma'am.” We exchanged 
one understanding glance; then 
his eyes became eight-year old 
eyes and mine, I knew, teacher 
eyes. I dismissed him to the play- 
ground and turned to the paper 

Kroginold, Vincent Lorma, I 
penciled into my notebook. A 
lumpy sort of name, I thought, to 
match a lumpy sort of student — 
scholastically speaking. 

Let me explain Rinconcillo. 
Here in the mountainous West, 
small towns, exploding into large 
cities, gulp down all sorts of odd 



terrain in expanding their city 
limits. Here at Winter Wells, city 
growth has followed the three 
intersecting highways for miles 
out, forming a spidery, six-legged 
sort of city. The city limits have 
followed the growth in swatches 
about four blocks wide, which 
leaves long ridges, and truly ridges 
— mountainous ones — of non-city 
projecting into the city. Conse- 
quently, here is Rinconcillo, a one- 
roomed school with only 15 stu- 
dents, and only about half a mile 
from a school system with eight 
schools and 4800 students. The 
only reason this school exists is the 
cluster of family units around the 
MEL (Mathematics Experimental 
Laboratory) facilities, and a h.alf 
dozen fiercely independent ranch- 
ers who stubbornly refuse to be 
urbanized and cut up into real 
estate developments or be city- 
limited and absorbed into the 
Winter Wells school system. 

As for me — this was my fourth 
year at Rinconcillo, and I don't 
know whether it's being fiercely 
independent or just stubborn, but 
I come back each year to my 
'little inside corner" tucked quite 
hterally under the curve of a tower- 
ing sandstone cliff at the end of 
a box canyon. The violently pur- 
suing and pursued traffic, on ihe 
two highways sandwiching us, 
never even suspects we exist. 
When I look out into the silence 
of an early school morning, I 
still can't believe that civilization 

could be anywhere within a hun- 
dred miles. Long shadows under 
the twisted, ragged oak trees mark 
the orangy gold of the sand in the 
wash that flows — dryly mostly, 
wetly tumultuous seldomly — 
down the middle of our canyon. 
Manzanitas tangle the hillside 
until the walls become too steep 
and sterile to support them. And 
yet, a twenty-minute drive — ten 
minutes out of here and ten min- 
utes into there — parks you right 
in front of the MONSTER MER- 
CHEAPER. I seldom drive that 

Back to Kroginold, Vincent 
Lorma — I was used to unusual 
children at my school. The lab at- 
tracted brilliant and erratic per- 
sonnel. The majority of the men 
there were good, solid citizens and 
no more eccentric than a like 
number of any professionals, but 
we do get our share of kooks, and 
their sometimes twisted children. 
Besides the size and situation be- 
ing an ideal set up for ungraded 
teaching, the uneven development 
for some of the children made it 
almost mandatory. As, for in- 
stance, Vincent, almost nine, 
reading, so he said, on second- 
grade level, averaging out to third 
grade, which implied above-age 
excellence in something. Where to 
put him? Why, second grade (or 
maybe first) and fourth (or maybe 
fifth) and third — of course! Per- 
haps a conference with his mother 



would throw some light on his 
'‘block/’ Well, difficult. According 
to the enrollment blank, both 
parents worked at MEL. 

By any method we tried, Vin- 
cent ll/as second grade — or less — 
in reading. 

“I’m sorry/’ He stacked his 
hands on ffie middle page of 
Through Happy Hours, through 
which he had stumbled most woe- 
fully. “And reading is so basic, 
isn’t it?” 

“It is,” I said, fingering his math 
paper — above age-level. And the 
vocabulary check test — “If it’s just 
words. I’ll define them,” he had 
said. And he had. Third year of 
high school worth. “I suppose your 
matli ability comes from your 
parents,” I suggested. 

“Oh, no!” he said, “I have noth- 
ing like their gift for math. It’s — 
it’s — I like it. You can always get 
out. You’re never caught — ” 

“Caught?” I frowned. 

“Yes — look!” Eagerly he seized 
a pencil. “See! One plus one 
equals two. Of course it does, but 
it doesn’t stop there. If you want 
to, you can back right out. Two 
equals one plus one. And there 
you arc — out! The doors swing 
both ways!” 

“Well, yes,” I said, teased by an 
almost grasping of what he meant. 
“But math traps me. One plus one 
equals two whether I want it to or 
not. Sometimes I want it to be one 
and a half or two and three- 
fourths and it won’t — ever!” 

“No, it won’t.” His face was 
troubled. “Does it bother you all 
the time?” 

“Heavens, no child!” I laughed. 
“It hasn’t warped my life!” 

“No,” he said, his eyes widely 
on mine, “But that’s why — ” His 
voice died as he looked longingly 
out the window at the recess- 
roaring playground, and I re- 
leased him to go stand against the 
waD of the school, wistfully watch- 
ing our eight other boys manage to 
be sixteen or even twenty-four in 
their wild gyrations. 

So that’s why? I doodled ab- 
sently on the workbook cover. I 
didn’t like a big school system be- 
cause its one-plus-one was my one 
and one-half — or two and three- 
fourths? Could be — could be. 
Honestly! What kids don’t come 
up with! I turned to the work 
sheet I was preparing for conso- 
nant blends for my this-year’s be- 
ginners — ‘all both of them — and 
one for Vincent. 

My records on Vincent over the 
next month or so were an odd 
patch-work. I found that he could 
read some of the articles in the 
encyclopedia, but couldn’t read 
Billy Goats Grujf, That he could 
read What Is So Rare As A Day 
In June, but couldn’t read Peter, 
Peter, Pumpkin Eater, It was begin- 
ning to look as though he could 
read what he wanted to and that 
was all. I don’t mean a capricious 
wanting-to, but that he shied 
away from certain readings and 



actually coiildnt read them. As yet 
I could find no pattern to his un- 
readings; so I let him choose the 
things he wanted and he read — 
oh, how he read! He gulped down 
the material so avidly that it 
worried me. But he did his gulping 
silently. Orally, he wore us both 
out with his stumbling struggles. 

He seemed to like school, but 
seldom mingled. He was shyly 
pleasant when the other children 
invited him to join them, and 
played quite competently — which 
isn’t the kind of play you expect 
from an eight-year old. 

And there matters stood until 
the day that Kipper — oiu: eighth 
grade — dragged Vincent in, 
bloody and battered. 

'This guy’s nearly killed Gene,” 
Kipper said. "Ruth’s out there try- 
ing to bring him to. First aid says 
don’t move him until we know.” 

"Wait here,” I snapped at Vin- 
cent as I headed for the door. "Get 
tissues for your face!” And I rushed 
out after Kipper. 

We found Gene crumpled in 
the middle of a horrified group 
gathered at the base of the canyon 
wall. Ruth was crying as she 
mopped his muddy forehead with 
a soggy tissue. I checked him over 
quickly. No obvious bleeding. I 
breathed a little easier as he 
moaned, moved and opened his 
eyes. He struggled to a sitting posi- 
tion and tenderly explored the side 
of his head. 

"Owl That dang rock!” He 

blinked tears as I parted his hair to 
see if he had any damage besides 
the egg-sized lump. He hadn’t. 
"He hit me with that big rock!” 

"My!” I giggled, foolish with 
relief. "He must have addled your 
brains at the same time. Look at 
the size of that rock!” The group 
separated to let Gene look, and 
Pete scrambled down from where 
he had perched on the rock for a 
better look at the excitement. 

"Well,” Gene rubbed his head 
tenderly. "Anyway, he did !” 

"Come on inside,” I said, help- 
ing him up. "Do you want Kipper 
to carry you?” 

"Heck no!” Gene pulled away 
from my hands. "I ain’t hurt. 
G’wan — noseys!” He turned his 
back on the staring children. 

'Toil children stay out here.” I 
herded Gene ahead of me. "We 
have things to settle inside.” 

Vincent was waiting quietly in 
his seat. He had mopped himself 
fairly clean, though he still dab- 
bled with a tissue at a cut over his 
left eye. Two long scratches oozed 
redly down his cheek. I spent the 
next few minutes rendering first 
aid. Vincent was certainly the 
more damaged of the tivo, and I 
could feel the thrumming leap of 
his still-racing heart against me as 
I turned his docile body around, 
tucking in his shirt during the 
final tidying up. 

"Now.” I sat, sternly teacher, at 
my desk and surveyed the two 
before me. "Gene, you first.” 



“Well/’ he rufiEed his hair up 
and paused to finger, half proudly, 
the knot under his hair. “He said 
let my ground squirrel go and I 
said no. What the heck! It was 
mine. And he said let it go and I 
said no and he took the cage and 
busted it and — ’’ Indignation in 
his eyes faded into defensiveness. 
“ — and I busted him one and — 
and — Well, then he hit me with 
that rock! Gosh, I was knocked out, 
wasn’t I?’’ 

“You were,” I said, grimly. 

“He’s right.” His voice was 
husky, his eyes on the tape on the 
back of one hand. Then he looked 
up with a tentative lift of his 
mouth corners. “Except that I hit 
the rock with him.” 

“Hit the rock with him?’* I 
asked. “You mean like judo or 
something? You pushed him 
against the rock hard enough to 
knock him out?” 

“If you like,” he shrugged. 

“It’s not what I like,” I said, 
“It’s — what happened?” 

“I hit the rock with him,” Vin- 
cent repeated. 

“And why?” I asked, ignoring' 
his foolish insistence, 

“We were having a fight. He 
told you.” 

“You busted my cage!” Gene 
flushed indignantly. 

“Gene,” I reminded. “You had 
your turn. Vincent?” 

“I had to let it go,” he said, his 
eyes hopefully on mine. “He 

wouldn’t, and it — it wanted to 
get out — the ground squirrel.” His 
eyes lost their hopefulness before 

“It wasn’t yours,” I reminded. 

“It wasn’t hfs either!” His eyes 
blazed. “It belonged to itself! He 
had no right — I” 

“I caught it!” Gene blazed back. 

“Gene! Be still or I’ll send you 

Gene subsided, muttering. 

‘Tou didn’t object to Ruth’s 
hamster being in a cage.” “Cage” 
and “math” seemed trying to 
equate in my mind. 

“That’s because it was a cage 
beast,” he said, fingering the taped 
hand again. “It didn’t know any 
better. It didn’t care.” His voice 
tightened. “The ground squirrel 
did. It would have killed itself to 
get out. I — I just had to — ” 

To my astonishment, I saw 
tears slide down his cheek as he 
turned his face away from me. 
Wordlessly I handed him a tissue 
from the box on my desk. He 
wiped his face, his fingers trem- 

“Gene?” I turned to him. “Any- 
thing more?” 

“Well, gollee! It was mine! And 
I liked it! It— it was miner 

“I’ll trade you,” said Vincent. 
“I’ll trade you a white rat in a real 
neat aluminum cage. A pregnant 
one, if you like. It’ll have four or 
five babies in about a week.” 

“Gollee! Honest?” Gene’s eyes 
were shining. 



“Vincent?’' I questioned him. 

“We have some at home/’ he 
said. “Mr. Wellerk at MEL gave 
me some when we came. They 
were surplus. Mother says I may 
trade if his mother says okay." 

“She won’t care!" cried Gene. 
“Us kids have part of the barn for 
our pets, and if we take care of 
them, she doesn’t care what we 
have. She don’t even ever come 
out there! Dad checks once in a 
while to be sure we’re doing a de- 
cent job. They won’t care. 

“Well, you have your mother 
write a note saying you may have 
the rat, and Vincent, if you’re 
sure you want to trade, bring the 
rat tomorrow and we’ll consider 
the affair ended." I reached for my 
hand bell. “Well, scoot, you two. 
Drinks and rest room, if necessary. 
It’s past bell time now." 

Gene scooted and I could hear 
him yelling, “Heyl I getta white 

Vincent was at the door when 
I stopped him with a question. 
Wincent, did your mother know 
before you came to school that 
you were going to let the ground 
squirrel go?" 

“No, ma’am. I didn’t even know 
Gene had it." 

“Then she didn't suggest you 
trade with Gene." 

'Tes, ma’am, she did," he said 

“When?" I asked, wondering 
if he was going to turn out to be 
a twisted child after all. 

“When you were out getting 
Gene. I called her and told her." 
He smiled his tentative lip-smile. 
“She gave me fits for fighting and 
suggested Gene might like the rat. 
I like it, too, but I have to make 
up for the ground squirrel." He 
hesitated. I said nothing. He left. 

“Well!" I exploded my held 
breath out. “Ananias K. Munchau- 
sen! Called his mother, did he? 
And no phone closer than MON- 
— " I was puzzled. “It didn’t feel 
like a lie!" 

Next afternoon after dismissal 
time I sighed silently. I was staring 
moodily out the window where the 
lonely creaking of one swing signi- 
fied that Vincent, as well as I, was 
waiting for his mother to appear. 
Well, inevitable, I guess. Send a 
taped-up child home, you’re almost 
sure to get an irate parent back. 
And Vincent had been taped up! 
Still was, for that matter. 

I hadn’t heard the car. The 
creaking of the swing stopped 
abruptly, and I heard Vincent’s 
happy calling voice. I watched the 
two of them come up onto the 
porch, Vincent happily clinging. 

“My mother. Teacher," he said, 
“Mrs. Kroginold." 

“Good afternoon. Miss Murcer." 
Mrs. Kroginold was small, dark 
haired and bright eyed. 'Tou wait 
outside, erring man-child!" She 
dismissed him with a spat on his 
bottom, “This is adult talk." He 



left, his small smile slanting back 
over his shoulder a little anxiously. 

Mrs. Kroginold settled com- 
fortably in the visitor s chair I had 
already pulled up beside my desk. 

‘‘Prepared, I see,” she sighed. 
“I suppose I should have come 
sooner and explained Vincent,” 

“He is a little unusual,” I 
offered cautiously. “But he didn't 
impress me as the fighting kind.” 

“He isn’t,” said Mrs. Kroginold. 
“No, he’s — um — unusual in 
plenty of other ways, but he comes 
by it naturally. It runs in the 
family. We’ve moved around so 
much since Vincent’s been in 
school that this is the first time 
I’ve really felt I should explain 
him. Of course, this is also the 
first time he ever knocked anyone 
out. His father could hardly be- 
lieve him. Well, anyway, he’s so 
happy here and making such 
progress in school that I don’t want 
anything to tarnish it for him, 
so — ” she sighed and smiled. “He 
says you asked him about his trad- 
ing the rat — ” 

“The pregnant rat,” I nodded. 

“He did ask me,” she said. “Our 
family uses a sort of telepathy in 

“A sort of telepathy — !” My 
jaw sagged, then tightened. Well, 
I could play the game, too. “How 

Her eyes gleamed. “Interesting 
aberration, isn’t it?” I flushed and 
she added hastily. “I’m sorry. I 
didn’t mean to — to put interpreta- 

tions into your mouth. But Vincent 
did hear — well, maybe ‘feel’ is a 
better word — the ground squirrel 
crying out against being caged. It 
caught him right where he lives. I 
think the block he has in reading is 
against anything that implies un- 
willing compulsion — you know, 
being held against your will — or 
prevented — ” 

Put her in a pumpkin shell, my 
memory chanted. The three Billy 
Goats Gruff were afraid to cross 
the bridge because — 

“The other schools,” she went 
on, “have restricted him to the 
reading materials proyided for his 
grade level, and you’d be surprised 
how many of the stories — 

“And he did hit the rock with 
Gene.” She smiled ruefully. “Lifted 
him bodily and threw him. A 
rather liberal interpretation of our 
family rules. He’s been forbidden 
to lift any large objects in anger. 
He considered Gene the lesser of 
the two objects. 

“You see. Miss Murcer, we do 
have family characteristics that 
aren’t exactly — mmm — usual, but 
Vincent is still just a school child, 
and we’re just parents, and he 
likes you much and we do, too. 
Accept us?” 

“I — ” I said, trying to blink 
away my confusion. “I — I — ” 

“Ay! Ay!” Mrs. Kroginold 
sighed and, smiling, stood up. 
“Thank you for not being loudly 
insulted by what I’ve told you. 
Once a neighbor of ours that I 


talked a little too freely to, threat- 
ened to sue — so I appreciate. You 
are so good for Vincent. Thanks.'' 

She was gone before I could get 
my wits collected. It had been a 
little hke being caught in a dust- 
less dust-devil. I hadn't heard the 
car leave, but when I looked out, 
there was one swing still stirring 
lazily between the motionless ones, 
and no one at all in sight on the 
school grounds. 

I closed up the schoolroom and 
went into the tiny two-roomed 
teacher-age extention on the back 
of the school to get my coat and 
purse. I had lived in those two tiny 
rooms for the first two years of my 
stay at Rinconcillo before I began 
to feel the need of more space and 
more freedom from school. Occa- 
sionally, even now, when I felt 
too tired- to plunge out into the 
roar of Winter Wells, I would 
spend a night on my old narrow 
bed in the quiet of tlie canyon. 

I wondered again about not 
hearing the car when I dipped 
down into the last sand wash be- 
fore the highway. I steered care- 
fully back across the packed nar- 
rowness of my morning tracks. 
Mine were the only ones, coming 
or going. I laid the odd discovery 
aside because I was immediately 
gulped up by the highway traffic. 
After I had been honked at and 
muttered at by two Coast drivers 
and had muttered at (I don't like 
to honk) and swerved around two 
Midwest tourist types roaring 


along at twenty-five miles an hour 
in the center lane admiring the 
scenery, I suddenly laughed. After 
all, there was nothing mysterious 
about my lonely tire tracks. I was 
just slightly disoriented. MEL was 
less than a mile away from the 
school, up over the ridge, though 
it was a good half hour by road. 
Mrs. Kroginold had hiked over 
for the conference and the two of 
them had hiked back together. My 
imagination boggled a little at the 
memory of Mrs. Kroginold's strap- 
'n'heel sandals and the hillsides, 
but then, not everyone insists on 
flats to walk in. 

Well, the white rat achieved six 
offspring, which cemented the 
friendship between Gene and Vin- 
cent forever, and school rocked 
along more or less serenely. 

Then suddenly, as though at a 
signal, the pace of space explora- 
tion was stepped up in every 
country that had ever tried launch- 
ing anything; so the school started 
a space unit. We went through our 
regular systematic lessons at a 
dizzying pace, and each child, 
after he had finished his assign- 
ment, plunged into his own chosen 
activity — all unrealizing of the 
fact that he was immediately put- 
ting into practice what he had 
been studying so reluctantly. 

My primary group was busy 
working out a moonscape in the 
sand table. It was to be complete 
with clay moon-people — ‘They 



don’t have to have any noses!” 
That was Ginny, tender to critical 
comment. ‘They’re different! They 
don’t breathe. No air!” And moon- 
dogs and cats and cars and flowers, 
and even a moon-bird. “It can’t 
fly in the sky cause there ain’t — 
isn’t any air so it flies in the dirt!” 
That was Justin. “It likes bottoms 
of craters cause there's more dirt 

I caught Vincent’s amused eyes 
as he listened to the small ones. 
“Little kids are funny!” he mur- 
mured. “Animals on the moon! 
My dad, when he was there, all 
he saw — ” His eyes widened and 
he became very busy choosing the 
right-sized nails from the rusty 
coffee can. 

“Middle-sized kids are funny, 
too,” I said. “Moon, indeed! There 
aren’t any dads on the moon, 

“I guess not.” He picked up the 
hammer and, as he moved away, 
I heard him whisper, “Not now!” 

My intermediates were in the 
midst of a huge argument. I um- 
pired for a while. If you use a BB 
shot to represent the Earth, would 
there be room in the schoolroom to 
make a scale mobile of the plane- 
tary system? I extinguished some 
of the fire bred of ignorance, by 
suggesting an encyclopedia and 
some math, and moved on through 
the room. 

Gene and Vincent, not caring 
for such intellectual pursuits, were 
working on our model space cap- 

sule which was patterned after the 
very latest in U. S. spacecraft, 
modified to include different as- 
pects of the latest in flying saucers. 
I was watching Vincent leaning 
through a window, fitting a tin can 
altitude gauge — or some such — 
into the control panel. Gene was 
painting purple a row of cans 
around the middle of the craft. 
Purple was currently popular for 
flying saucer lights. 

“I wonder if astronauts ever 
develop claustrophobia?” I said 
idly. “I get a twinge sometimes in 
elevators or mines.” 

“I suppose ^ susceptible ones 
would be eliminated long before 
they ever got to be astronauts,” 
grunted Vincent as he pushed on 
the tin can. “They go through all 
sorts of tests.” 

“I know,” I said, “But people 
change. Just supposing — ” 

“Gollee!” said Gene, his poised 
paint brush dribbling purple down 
his arm and off his elbow. “Imag- 
ine! Way up there! No way out! 
Can't get down! And claustro- 
phobia!” He brought out the five 
syllables proudly. The school had 
defined and discussed the word 
when we first started the unit. 

The tin can slipped and Vin- 
cent staggered sideways, falling 
against me. 

“Oh!” said Vincent, his shaking 
hands lifting, his right arm curling 
up over his head. “I — ” 

I took one look at his twisted 
face, the cold sweat beading his 


hairline, and, circling his shoul- 
ders, steered him over to the read- 
ing bench near my desk. ‘"Sit,” I 

“Whatsa matter him?” Now 
the paint was dripj)ing on one leg 
of Gene’s Levi’s. 

‘7ust slightly wampsy,” I said. 
*Watch that paint. You’re making 
a mess of your clothes.” 

''Gollee!” He smeared his hand 
down his pants from hip to knee. 
"Mom’ll kill me!” 

I lifted my voice. "It’s put-away 
time. Kipper, will you monitor to- 

The children were swept into 
organized confusion. I turned 
back to Vincent. "Better?” 

"I’m sorry.” Color hadn’t come 
back to his face yet, but it was 
plumping up from its stricken 
drawnness. "Sometimes it gets 
through too sharply — ” 

"Don’t worry about it,” I said, 
pushing his front hair up out of his 
eyes. "You could drive yourself 
crazy — ’* 

"Mom says my imagination is a 
little too vivid — ” His mouth cor- 
ners lifted. 

"So ’tis,” I smiled at him, "if it 
must seize upon my imaginary as- 
tronaut. There’s no point to your 
harrowing up your soul with what 
might happen. Problems we have 
always with us. No need to borrow 

"I’m not exactly borrowing,” he 
whispered, his shoulder hunching 
up towards his wincing head. "He 


never did want to, anyway, and 
now that they’re orbiting, he’s still 
scared. What if — ” He straight- 
ened resolutely, "I’ll help Gene.” 
He slid away before I could stop 

"Vincent,” I called, 'Who's or- 
biting — ” And just then Justin 
dumped over the whole stack of 
jigsaw puzzles, upside down. That 
ended any further questions I 
might have had. 

That evening I pushed the news- 
paper aside and thoughtfully lifted 
my coffee cup. I stared past its rim 
and out into the gathering dark- 
ness. This was the local newspa- 
per which was still struggling to 
become a big metropolitan daily af- 
ter half a century of being a four- 
page county weekly. Sometimes its 
reach exceeded its grasp, and it 
had to bolster short columns with 
little folksy-type squibs. I re-read 
the one that had caught my eye. 
Morris was usually good for an 
item or two. I watched for them 
since he had had a conversation 
with a friend of mine I’d lost traek 

Local ham operator, Morris Sta- 
viski, says the Russians have a new 
manned sputnik in orbit. He says 
he has monitored radio signals 
from the capsule. He can't tell what 
they're saying, but he says they're 
talking Russian, He knows what 
Russian sounds like because his 
grandmother \vas Russian, 

"Hmm,” I thought. "I wonder. 



Maybe Vincent knows Morris. 
Maybe that's where he got this or- 
biting bit." 

So the next day I asked him. 

“Staviski?" He frowned a little. 
*‘No, ma’am, I don’t know anyone 
named Staviski. At least I don’t re- 
member the name. Should I?" 

''Not necessarily,’’ I said, "I just 
wondered. He’s a ham radio oper- 

"Oh!" His face flushed happily. 
"I’m working on the code now so I 
can take the test next time it’s giv- 
en in Winter Wells! Maybe I’ll get 
to talk to him sometimes!" 

"Me, too!" said Gene. "I’m learn- 
ing the code, too!" 

"He’s a little handicapped, 
though," Vincent smiled. "He can’t 
tell a dit from a dah yet!" 

The next morning Vincent 
crept into school with all the sun 
gone out. He moved like someone 
in a dream and got farther and far- 
ther away. Before morning recess 
came, I took his temperature. It 
was normal. But he certainly was- 
n’t. At recess the rapid outflow of 
children left him stranded in his 
seat, his pinched face turned to the 
window, his unfinished work in 
front of him, his idle pencil in the 
hand that curved up over the side 
of his head. 

"Vincent!" I called, but there 
was no sign he even heard me. 

He drew a sobbing breath and 
focused his eyes on me slowly. 
*Tes, ma’am?" He wet his dry lips. 

"What is the matter?" I asked. 
"Where do you feel bad?" 

"Bad?" His eyes unfocused again 
and his face slowly distorted into 
a crying mask. With an effort he 
smoothed it out again. "I’m not the 
one. It’s — it’s — " He leaned his 
shaking chin in the palm of his 
hand and steadied his elbow on the 
top of his desk. His knuckles whit- 
ened as he clenched his fingers 
against his mouth. 

"Vincent!" I went to him and 
touched his head lightly. With a 
little shudder and a sob, he turned 
and buried his face against me. 

"Oh, Teacher! Teacher!" 

A quick look out the window 
showed me that all the students 
were down in the creek bed build- 
ing sapd forts. Eight-year old pride 
is easily bruised, I led Vincent up 
to my desk and took him onto my 
lap. For a while w^e sat there, my 
cheek pressed, to his head as I 
rocked silently. His hair was spiky 
against my face and smelled a little 
like a baby chick’s feathers. 

"He’s afraid! He’s afraid!" He 
finally whispered, his eyes tight 
shut. "The other one is dead. It’s 
broken so it can’t come back. He’s 
afraid! And the dead one keeps 
looking at him with blood on his 
mouth! And he can’t come down! 
His hands are bleeding! He hit the 
walls wanting to get out. But 
there’s no air outside!" 

"Vincent," I went on rocking, 
"Have you been telling yourself 
stories until you believe them^" 



'‘No!” He buried his face against 
my shoulder, his body tense. “I 
know! I know! I can hear him! He 
screamed at first, but now he*s too 
scared. Now he — '' Vincent stilled 
on my lap. He lifted his face — lis- 
tening. The anguish slowly 
smoothed away. “It*s gone again! 
He must go to sleep. Or uncon- 
scious. I don’t hear him all the 

“What was he saying?” I asked, 
caught up in his — well, whatever 
it was. 

“I don’t know.” Vincent slid 
from my lap, his face still wary. 
“I don’t know his language.” 

“But you said — ” I protested. 
“How do you know what he’s feel- 
ing if you don’t even know — ” 

He smiled his little lip-lift. 
“When you look at one of us kids 
without a word and your left eye- 
brow goes up — what do you 

“Well, that depends on what 
who’s doing,” I flushed. 

“If it’s for me, I knoii; what you 
mean. And I stop it. So do the oth- 
er kids about themselves. That’s the 
way I know this.” He started back 
to his desk. “I’d better get my 
spelling done.” 

“Is that the one that’s orbiting?” 
I asked hopefully, wanting to tie 
something to something. 

“Orbiting?” Vincent ^vas busily 
writing. “That’s the sixth word, rm 
only on the fourth.” 

Tliat afternoon I finally put 

aside the unit tests I’d been check- 
ing and looked at the clock. Five 
o’clock. And at my hands. Filthy, 
And assessed the ache across my 
shoulders, the hollow in my stom- 
ach, and decided to spend the 
night right where I was. I didn’t 
even straighten my desk, but 
turned my weary back on it and 
unlocked the door to the teacher- 

I kicked off my shoes, flipped on 
the floor lamp and turned up the 
thermostat to take the dank chill 
out of the small apartment. The 
cupboards yielded enough supplies 
to make an entirely satisfying 
meal. Afterwards, I turned the 
lights low and sat curled up at one 
end of the couch listening to one 
of my Acker Bilke records while I 
drank my coffee. I flexed my toes 
in blissful comfort as I let the clear, 
concise, tidy notes of the clarinet 
clear away my cobwebs of fatigue. 
Instead of purring, I composed 
another strophe to my Praise Song: 

Praise . God for Fedness — and 
Warmness — and Shelteredness — 
and Darkness — and Lightness — 
and Cleanness — and Quietness — 
and Unharriedness — 

I dozed then for a while and 
woke to stillness. The stereo had 
turned itself off, and it was so still 
I could hear the wind in the oak 
trees and the far, unmusical blat 
of a diesel train. And I also could 
hear a repetition of the sound that 
had wakened me. 



Someone was in the schoolroom. 

I felt a throb of fright and won- 
dered if I had locked the teacher- 
age door. But I knew; I had locked 
the school door just after four 
o’clock. Of course, a bent bobby pin 
and your tongue in the correct cor- 
ner of your mouth and you could 
open the old lock. But what — who 
would want to? What was in 
there? The stealthy noises went on. 
I heard the creak of tlie loose 
board in the back of the room. I 
heard the yaaaawn of the double 
front door hinges and a thud and 
clatter on the front porch . 

Half paralyzed with fright, I 
crept to the little window that 
looked out onto the porch. Cau- 
tiously I separated two of the slats 
of the blind and peered out into 
the thin slice of moonlight. I 
gasped and let the slats fall. 

A flying saucer! With purple 
lights! On the porch! 

Then I gave a half grunt of 
laughter. Flying saucers, indeed! 
There was something familiar 
about that row of purple lights — 
un glowing — around its middle. I 
knew they were purple — even by 
the dim light — because that was 
our space capsule! Who was trying 
to steal our cardboard-tincan-pos- 
terpainted capsule? 

Then I hastily shoved the blind 
aside and pressed my nose to the 
dusty screen. The blind retaliated 
by swinging back and whacking 
me heavily on the ear, but that 
wasn’t what was dizzying me. 

Our capsule luas taking off I 
can’t!” I gasped as it slid up 
past the edge of the porch roof. 
‘'Not that storage barrel and all 
those tin cans! It can’t!” And, sure 
enough, it couldn’t. It crash-land- 
ed just beyond the flagpole. But it 
staggered up again, spilling sever- 
al cans noisily, and skimmed over 
the swings, only to smash against 
the boulder at the base of the wall. 

I was out of the teacherage, 
through the dark schoolroom and 
down the porch steps before the 
echo of the smash stopped bounc- 
ing from surface to surface around 
the canyon. I was halfway to the 
capsule before my tt)es curled and 
made me conscious of the fact that 
I was barefooted. Rather delicate- 
ly I walked the rest of the way to 
the crumpled wreckage. What on 
earth had possessed it — ? 

In the shadows I found what 
had possessed it. It was Vincent, 
his arms wrapped tightly over his 
ears and across his head. He was 
writhing silently, his face distort- 
ed and gasping. 

“Good Lord!” I gasped and fell 
to my knees beside him. “Vincent! 
What on earth!” I gathered him 
up as best I could with his body 
twisting and his legs flailing, and 
moved him out into the moonlight. 

“I have to! I have to! I have to!” 
he moaned, struggling away from 
me. “I hear him! I hear him!” 

“Hear whom?” I asked. “Vin- 
cent!” I shook him. “Make sense! 
What are you doing here?” 


Vincent stilled in my arms for 
a frozen second. Then his eyes 
opened and he blinked in aston- 
ishment. 'Teacher! What are yoii 
doing here?’' 

"I asked first," I said. "What are 
you doing here, and what is this 
capsule bit?" 

"The capsule?" He peered at the 
pile of wreckage and tears flooded 
down his checks. "Now I can’t go 
and I have to! I have to!" 

"Come on inside," I said. "Let’s 
get this thing straightened out once 
and for all." He dragged behind 
me, his feet scuffling, his sobs and 
sniffles jerking to the jolting move- 
ment of his steps. But he dug in 
at the porch and pulled me to a 

"Not inside!" he said. "Oh, not 

"Well, okay," I said. "We’ll sit 
here for now." 

He sat on the step below me and 
looked up, his face wet and shin- 
ing in the moonlight. I fished in 
the pocket of my robe for a tissue 
and swabbed his eyes. Then I gave 
him another. "Blow," I said. He 
did. "Now, from the beginning." 

"I — " He had recourse to the 
tissue again. "I came to get the 
capsule. It was the only way I 
could think of to get the man." 

Silence crept around his flat 
statement until I said, ''That's the 

Tears started again. I handed 
him another tissue. "Now look, 
Vincent, something’s been bothcr- 


ing you for several days. Have you 
talked it over with your parents?” 

"No," he hiccoughed. "Im not 
supp-upposed to listen in on peo- 
ple. It isn’t fair. But I didn’t really. 
He came in first and I can’t shut 
him out now because I know he’s 
in trouble, and you can’t not help 
if you know about someone’s 
need — " 

Maybe, I thought hopefully, 
maybe this is still my nap that I’ll 
soon wake from — but I sighed. 
"Who is this man? The one that’s 

"Yes," he said, and cut the last 
hope for good solid sense from un- 
der my feet. "He’s up in a capsule 
and its retro-rockets won’t fire. 
Even if he could live until the or- 
bital decay dropped him back into 
the atmosphere, the re-entry 
would burn him up. And he’s so 
afraid! He’s trapped! He can’t get 

I took hold of both of his shak- 
ing shoulders. "Calm down," I 
said. "You can’t help him like this." 
He buried his face against the skirt 
of my robe. I slid one of my hands 
over to his neck and patted him 
for a moment. 

"How did you make the capsule 
move?" I asked. "It did move, did- 
n’t it?" 

'Tes," he said. "I lifted it. We 
can, you know — lift things. My 
People can. But I’m not big 
enough. I’m not supposed to any- 
way, and I can’t sustain the lift. 
And if I can’t even get it out of 



this canyon, how can I lift clear 
out of the atmosphere? And he'll 
die — scared!" 

‘Tou can make things fly?'' I 

'Tes, all of us can. And our- 
selves, too. See?" 

And there he was, floating! His 
knees level with my head! His shoe 
laces drooped forlornly down, and 
one used tissue tumbled to the 
steps below him. 

''Come down," I said, swallow- 
ing a vast lump of some kind. He 
did. "But you know there's no air 
in space, and our capsule — Good 
Lord! Our capsule? In space ? — 
wasn’t airtight. How did you ex- 
pect to breathe?" 

"We have a shield," he said. 
"See?" And there he sat, a glint of 
something about him. 1 reached 
out a hand and drew back, my 
stubbed fingers. The glint was 
gone. "It keeps out the cold and 
keeps in the air," he said. 

"Let's — let's analyze this a lit- 
tle," I suggested weakly, nursing 
my fingers unnecessarily. "You say 
there's a man orbiting in a dis- 
abled capsule, and you planned to 
go up in our capsule with only the 
air you could take with you and 
rescue him?" He nodded wordless- 
ly. "Oh, child! Child!" I cried. 
'Tou couldn't possibly!" 

'Then he'll die." Desolation flat- 
tened his voice and he sagged for- 

Well, what comfort could I of- 
fer him? I sagged, too. Lucky, I 

thought then, that it’s moonlight 
tonight. People traditionally be- 
lieve all kinds of arrant nonsense 
by moonlight. So. I straightened. 
Let’s believe a little — or at least act 
as if. 


"Yes, ma’am." His face was shad- 
owed by his hunched shoulders. 

"If you can hft our capsule this 
far, how far could your daddy hft 

"Oh, lots farther!" he cried. 
"My daddy was studying to be a 
regular Motiver when he went to 
the New Home, but he stopped 
when he came back across space to 
Earth again because Outsiders 
don't accept — oh!" His eyes round- 
ed and he pressed his hands to his 
mouth. "Oh, I forgot!" His voice 
came muffled. "I forgot! You're an 
Outsider! We're forbidden to tell 
— to show — Outsiders don't — " 

"Nonsense," I said, "I'm not an 
Outsider. I’m a teacher. Can you 
call your mother tonight the way 
you did the day you and Gene had 
that fight?" 

"A fight? Me and Gene?" The 
fight was obviously an event of the 
neolithic period for Vincent. "Oh, 
yes, I remember. Yes, I guess I 
could, but she'll be mad because 
I left — and I told — and — and — " 
Weeping was close again. 

"You'll have to choose," I point- 
ed out, glad to the bones that it 
wasn't my choice to make, "be- 
tween letting the man die or hav- 
ing her mad at you. You should 


have told them when you first 
knew about him/' 

didn't want to tell that Td 
listened to the man — ” 

‘Is he Russian?" I asked, just for 
curiosity's sake. 

“I don't know," he said. “His 
words are strange. Now he keeps 
saying something like Hospodi 
ponieltii, I think he's talking to 

“Call your mother,” I said, no 
linguist I, “She's probably worried 
to death by now." 

Obediently, he closed his eyes 
and sat silent for a while on the 
step below me. Then he opened his 
eyes. “She'd just found out I was- 
n't in bed,” he said. “They're com- 
ing." He shivered a little. “Daddy 
gets so mad sometimes. He hasn't 
the most equitable of tempera- 
ments!” < 

“Oh, Vincent!" I laughed, 
“What an odd mixture you are!” 

“No, I'm not,” he said. “Both 
my mother and daddy are of the 
People. Remy is a mixture 'cause 
his grampa was of the Earth, but 
mine came from the Home. You 
know — when it was destroyed. I 
wish I could have seen the ship our 
People came to Earth in. Daddy 
says when he was little, they used 
to dig up pieces of it from the walls 
and floors of the canyon where it 
crashed. But they still had a life 
slip in a shed behind their house 
and they'd play they were escaping 
again from the big ship.” Vincent 
shivered. “But some didn't escape. 


Some died in the sky and some 
died because Earth people were 
scared of them." 

I shivered too and rubbed my 
cold ankles with both hands. ^ 
wondered wistfully if this wasn't 
asking just a trifle too much of my 
ability to believe, even in the name 
of moonlight. 

Vincent brought me back 
abruptly to my particular Earth. 
“Look! Here they are already! Gol- 
lee! That was fast. They sure must 
be mad!” And he trailed out onto 
the playground. 

I looked expectantly toward the 
road and only whirled tlie other 
way when I heard the thud of feet. 
And there they stood, both Mr. and 
Mrs. Kroginold. And he did look 
mad! His^ — well — rough-hewn is 
about the kindest description— 
face frowning in the moonlight. 
Mrs. Kroginold surged toward 
Vincent and Mr. Kroginold 
swelled preliminary to a vocal 
blast — or so I feared — so I stepped 
quickly into the silence. 

“There's our school capsule,” I 
said, motioning towards the 
crushed clutter at the base of the 
boulder. “That's what he was plan- 
ning to go up in to rescue a man 
in a disabled sputnik. He thought 
the air inside that shiny whatever 
he put around himself would suf- 
fice for the trip. He says a man is 
dying up there, and he's been car- 
rying that agony around with him, 
all alone, because he w\as afraid to 
tell you.” 



I Stopped for a breath and Mr* 
Kroginold deflated and — amaz- 
ingly — grinned a wide, attractive 
grin, half silver, half shadow. 

'‘Why the gutsy little devil!’* he 
said admiringly. “And I’ve been 
fearing the stock was running out! 
When I was a boy in the canyon 
— ’’ But he sobered suddenly and 
turned to Vincent. “Vince! If 
there’s need, let’s get with it. 
What’s the deal?” He gathered 
Vincent into the curve of his arm, 
and we all went back to the porch. 
“Now. Details.” We all sat. 

Vincent, his eyes intent on his 
father’s face and his hand firmly 
holding his mother’s, detailed. 

“There are two men orbiting up 
there. The capsule won’t function 
properly. One man is dead. I never 
did hear him. The other one is 
crying for help.” Vincent’s face 
tightened anxiously. “He — he feels 
so bad that it nearly kills me. Only 
sometimes I guess he passes out be- 
cause the feeling goes away — like 
now. Then it comes back worse — ” 

“He’s orbiting,” said Mr. Krogi- 
nold, his eyes intent on Vincent’s 

“Oh,” said Vincent weakly, “Of 
course! I didn’t think of that! Oh, 
Dad! I’m so stupid!” And he flung 
himself on Mr. Kroginold. 

“No,” said Mr. Kroginold, wrap- 
ping him around with the dark 
strength of his arms. “Just young. 
You’ll learn. But first learn to 
bring your problems to your moth- 
er and me. That’s what we’re for!” 

“But,” said Vincent. “I’m not 
supposed to listen in — ” 

“Did you seek him out?” asked 
Mr. Kroginold. “Did you know 
about the capsule?” 

“No,’’ said Vincent. “He just 
came in to me — ” 

“See?” Mr. Kroginold set Vin- 
cent back on the step. “You were- 
n’t listening in. You were invaded. 
You just happened to be the right 
receptivity. Now, what were your 

“They were probably stupid, 
too,” admitted Vincent, “But I 
was going to lift our capsule — I 
had to have something to* put him 
in — and try to intercept the orbit 
of the other one. Then I was going 
to get the man out — I don’t know 
how — and bring him back to Earth 
and put him down at the FBI 
building in Washington. They’d 
know how to get him home again.” 

‘Well,” Mr. Kroginold smiled 
faintly. “Your plan has the virtue 
of simplicity, anyway. Just nit- 
picking, though, I can see one 
slight problem. How would the 
FBI ever convince the authorities 
in his country that we hadn’t im- 
pounded the capsule for our own 
nefarious purposes?” Then he be- 
came very business-like. 

“Lizbeth, will you get in touch 
with Ron? I think he’s in Kerry to- 
night. Lucky our best Motiver is 
This End right now. I’ll see if 
Jemmy is up-canyon. We’ll get his 
okay on Remy’s craft at the Sel- 
kirk. If this has been going on for 



very long, time is what weVe got 
little of." 

It was rather anti-climactic after 
all those eflftcient ratthngs-out of 
directions to see the three of them 
just sit quietly there on the step, 
hands clasped, their faces lifted a 
little in the moonhght, their eyes 
closed. My left foot was beginning 
to go to sleep when Vincent s chin 
finally dropped, and he pulled one 
hand free from his mother s grasp 
to curl his arm up over his head. 
Mrs. Kroginold s eyes flipped open. 
''Vincent?" Her voice was anxious. 

"Its coming again," I said. 
"That distress — whatever it is." 

"Roi) s heading for the Selkirk 
now,” she said, gathering Vincent 
to her. "Jake, Vincent's receiving 

Mr. Kroginold said hastily to 
the eaves of the porch, " — as soon 
as possible. Hang on. Vincent s got 
him again. Wait, I'll relay. Vince, 
where can I reach him? Show me." 

And darned if they didn't all sit 
there again — with Vincent's face 
shining with sweat and his mother 
trying to cradle his twisting body. 
Then Mr. Kroginold gave a grunt, 
and Vincent relaxed with a sob. 
His father took him from his moth- 

"Already?" I asked. "That was a 
short one." 

Mrs. Kroginold fished for a tis- 
sue in her pocket and wiped Vin- 
cent's face. "It isn’t over yet," she 
said. "It won't be until the capsule 
swings behind the Earth again, but 

he's channeling the distress to his 
father, and he's relaying it to Jem- 
my up-canyon. Jemmy is our Old 
One. He’ll help us handle it from 
here on out. But Vincent will have 
to be our receptor — " 

" 'A sort of telepathy' ", I quot- 
ed, dizzy with trying to follow a 
road I couldn't even imagine. 

"A sort of telepathy." Mrs. Kro- 
ginold laughed and sighed, her 
finger tracing Vincent's cheek lov- 
ingly. "You’ve had quite a mish- 
mash dumped in your lap, haven’t 
you? And no time for us to be sub- 

"It is bewildering,” I said. "I've 
been adding two and two and get- 
ting the oddest fours!" 

"Like?" she asked. 

"Like maybe Vincent's forefa- 
thersjJidn't come over in the May- 
flower, but maybe a spaceship?" 

"But not quite Mayflower years 
ago," she smiled. "And?" 

"And maybe Vincent's Dad has 
seen no life on the moon?" 

"Not so very long ago," she said, 

"And maybe there is a man in 
distress up there and you are going 
to try to rescue him?" 

"Well," said Mrs. Kroginold. 
"Those fours look all right to me." 

"They I goggled. Then I 
sighed, "Ah well, this modern 
math! I knew it would be the end 
of me!" 

Mr. Kroginold brought his eyes 
back to us. "Well, it's all set in mo- 
tion. Ron's gone for the craft. 



He'll be here to pick us up as soon 
as he can make it. Jemmy s taking 
readings on the capsule so we'll be 
able to attempt rendezvous. Then, 
the Power being willing, we'll be 
able to bring the fellow back." 

— I — " I stood up. This \vas 
suddenly too much. '1 think may- 
be I'd better go back in the house." 
I brushed the sand off the back of 
my robe. '‘One thing bothers me 
still, though." 

"Yes?" Airs. Kroginold smiled. 

"How is the FBI going to con- 
vince the authorities of the other 

"Ay!" she said, sobering. "Jake 


And I gathered my skirts up and 
left the family there on the school 
porch. As I closed the teacherage 
door behind me, I leaned against 
it. It was so dark — in here. And 
there was such light out there! 
Why, they had jumped into help- 
ing without asking one single 
question! Then I wondered what 
questions I had expected — Was 
the man a nice man? Was he worth 
saving? Was he an important per- 
sonage? What kind of reward? Is 
there a need? That's all they need- 
ed to know! 

I looked at the sleepcoat I had- 
n't worn yet, but I felt too morn- 
ing to undress and go to bed prop- 
erly, so I slid out of my robe and 
put my dress back on. And my 
shoes. And a sweater. And stood ir- 
resolutely in the middle of the 
floor. After all! What is the eti- 

quette for when your guests arc 
about to go into orbit from your 
front porch? 

Then there was a thud at the 
door and the knob rattled. I heard 
Mrs. Kroginold call softly, "But 
Vincent! An Outsider?" 

"But she isn't!" said Vincent, 
fumbling again at the door. "She 
said she isn't — she's a teacher. 
And I know she'd like — " The door 
swung open suddenly and tum- 
bled Vincent to the schoolroom 
floor. Mrs. Kroginold was just out- 
side the outer door on the porch. 

"Sorry," she said, "Vincent 
thinks maybe you'd like Jto see the 
craft arrive — but — " 

'Tou're afraid I might tell," I 
said for her. "And it should be kept 
in the family. I've been repository 
for odd family stories before. Well, 
maybe not quite — " 

Vincent scrambled for the 
porch. "Here it comes!" he cried. 

I was beside Mrs. Kroginold in 
a split second and, grasping hands, 
we raced after Vincent. Mr. Kro- 
ginold had been standing in the 
middle of the playground, but he 
drifted back to us as a huge — well, 
a huge nothing came down 
through the moonlight. 

"It — where is it?" I wondered 
if some dimension I didn't know 
was involved. 

"Oh," said Mrs. Kroginold. "It 
has the unlight over it. Jake! Ask 

Mr. Kroginold turned his face 
to the huge nothing. And there it 



was! A slender silver something, its 
nose arcing down from a rocket 
position to rest on the tawny sands 
of the playground. 

‘The unlight s so no one will see 
us,” said Mrs. Kroginold, “and we 
flow it so it won't bother radar and 
things like that.” She laughed. 
“We re not the right shape for this 
year s flying saucers, anyway. Tm 
glad we're not. Who wants to look 
like a frosted cupcake on a purple 
lighted plate? That's what’s so In 

“Is it really a spaceship?” I 
asked, struck by how clean the 
lovely gleaming craft was that had 
come so silendy to dent our play- 

“Sure it is!” cried Vincent. “The 
Old Man had it and they took him 
to the moon in it to bury him and 
Bethie too and Remy went with 
their Dad and Mom and — ” 

“A litde reticence. Son,” said 
Mr. Kroginold, catching Vincent's 
hand. “It isn't necessary to go into 
all that history.” 

“She — she reahzes,” said Mrs. 
Kroginold, “It's not as if she were 
a stranger.” 

“We shouldn't be gone too 
long,” said Mr. Kroginold. “I'll 
pick you up here as soon — ” 

“Pick us up! I'm going with 
you!” cried Mrs. Kroginold. “Jake 
Kroginold! If you think you're go- 
ing to do me out of a thing as wild 
and wonderful as this — ” 

“Let her go with us, Dad,” 
begged Vincent, 

“With MS?” Mr. Kroginold 
raked his fingers back through his 
hair. “You, too?” 

“Of course!” Vincent's eyes were 
wide with astonishment. “It's my 

“Well, adonday veeah in cards 
and spades!” said Mr. Kroginold. 
He grinned over at me. “Family!” 
he said. 

I studiously didn't meet his eyes. 
I felt a deep wave of color move 
up my face as I kept my moudi 
clamped shut. I wouldrit say any- 
thing! I couldn’t ask! I had no 
right to expect — 

“And Teacher, too!” eried Vin- 
cent, “Teacher, too!” 

Mr. Kroginold considered me 
for a long moment. My wanting 
must have been a flaring thing be- 
cause he finally shrugged an eye- 
brow and echoed, “And Teacher, 

Then I nearly died! It was so 
wild and wonderful and impossi- 
ble and I'm scared to death of 
heights! We scurried about getting 
me a jacket. Getting Kipper's for- 
gotten jacket out of the cloak room 
for Vincent who had come off 
without his. Taking one of my 
blankets, just in case. I paused a 
moment in the mad scramble, 
hand poised over my Russian-Eng- 
lish, English-Russian pocket dic- 
tionary. Then left it. The man 
might not be Russian at all. And 
even if he was, people like Vin- 
cent's seemed to have little need for 
such aids to communication. 



A door opened in the craft. I 
looked at it, thinking blankly, 
Ohmy! Ohmy! We had started 
across the yard toward the craft 
when I gasped, “The — the door! 
I have to lock the door!” 

I dashed back to the school- 
house and into the darkness of the 
teacherage. And foolishly, child- 
ishly, ^there in the dark, I got aw- 
fully hungry! I yanked a cupboard 
door open and scrabbled briefly. 
Peanut butter — slippery, glassy 
cylinder — crackers — square cor- 
nered, waxy carton. I slammed the 
cupboard shut, snatched up my 
purse as though I were on the way 
TILE, staggered out of the door, 
and juggled my burdens until I 
could manipulate the key. Then I 
hesitated on the porch, one foot 
lifting, all ready to go to the craft, 
and silently gasped my travel 
prayer. “Dear God, go with me to 
my destination. Don't let me im- 
peril anyone or be imperiled by 
anyone. Amen.” I started down the 
steps, paused, and cried softly, 
“To my destination and hack! Oh, 
please! And back!” 

Have you, oh, have you ever 
watched space reach down to sur- 
round vou as your hands would 
reach down to surround a min- 
now? Have you ever seen Earth, 
a separate thing, apart from you, 
and sec-almost-all-able? Have you 
ever watched color deepen and run 
until it blared into blaze and black- 

ness? Have you ever stepped out of 
the context in which your identity 
is established and floated un-any- 
one beyond the steady pulse of 
night and day and accustomed be- 
ing? Have you ever, for even a 
fleeting second, shared God's eyes? 
I have! I have! 

And Mrs. Kroginold and Vin- 
cent were with me in all the awe- 
some wonder of our going. You 
couldn't have seen us go even if 
you had known where to look. We 
were wrapped in unlight again, 
and the craft was flowed again to 
make it a nothing to any detection 

“I wish I could space walk!” 
said Vincent, finally, turning his 
shoulders but not his eyes away 
from the window. “Daddy — ” 

“No.” Mr. Krbginold's tone left 
no loophole for further argument. 

“Well, it would be fun,” Vin- 
cent sighed. Then he said in a very 
small voice. “Mother, I'm hungry.” 

“So sorry!” Mrs. Kroginold 
hugged him to her briefly. “Nearest 
hamburger joint's a far piece down 
the road!” 

“Here — ” I found, after two 
abortive attempts, that I still had 
a voice. I slithered cautiously to 
my knees on the bare floor — no 
luxury liner, this — and sat back. 
“Peanut butter.” The jar clicked 
down. “And crackers.” The carton 
thumped — and my elbow creaked 
almost audibly as I straightened it 
out from its spasmed clutch. 

“Gollee! Real deal!” Vincent 



plumped down beside me and be- 
gan working on the lid of the jar. 
*Whatll we spread it with?'’ 

“Oh!” I blankly considered the 
problem. “Oh, I have a nail file 
here in my purse.” I was fishing 
for it amid the usual clutter when 
I caught Mrs. Kroginold’s sur- 
prised look. I grinned sheepishly, 
“i thought I was hungry. But I 
guess that wasn’t what was wrong 
with my stomach!” 

Shortly after the jar was opened 
and the roasty smell of peanuts 
spread, Mr. Kroginold and anoth- 
er fellow drifted casually over to 
us. I preferred to ignore the fact 
that they actually drifted — no 
steps on the floor. The other fellow 
was introduced as Jemmy. The Old 
One? Not so old, it seemed to me. 
But then “old” might mean “wise” 
to these people. And on that score 
he could qualify. He had none of 
the loose ends that I can often 
sense in people. He was — whole. 

“Ron is lifting,” said Mr. Kro- 
ginold through a mouthful of pea- 
nut butter and crackers. He nod- 
ded at the center of the room where 
another fellow sat looking intent- 
ly at a square, boxy-looking thing. 

'That’s the amplifier,” Jemmy 
said, as though that explained any- 
thing. “It makes it possible for one 
man to manage the craft.” 

Something buzzed on a panel 
across the room. “There!” Mr. Kro- 
ginold was at the vdndow, staring 
intently. “There it is! Good work, 

At that moment Vincent cried 
out, his arms going up in their pro- 
testing posture. Mrs. Kroginold 
pushed him over to his father who 
drew him in the curve of his shoul- 
der to the window, coaxing down 
the tense arms. 

“See? There’s the craft! It looks 
odd. Something’s not right about 

“Can — can we take off the un- 
light now?” asked Vincent, jerkily, 
“So he can see us? Then maybe he 
won’t feel so bad — ” 

“Jemmy?” Mr. Kroginold called 
across the craft. “What do you 
think? Would the shock of our ap- 
pearance be too much?” 

“It could hardly be worse than 
the hell he’s in now,” said Jemmy, 

“Oh!” cried Vincent. “He thinks 
he just now died. He thinks we’re 
the Golden Gates!” 

“Rather a loose translation.” 
Jemmy flung a smiling glance at 
us. “But he is wondering if we are 
the entrance to the afterworld. 
Ron, can we dock?” < 

Moments later, there was a 
faint metallic click and a slight 
vibration through our craft. Then 
we three extras stood pressed to 
the window and watched Mr. 
Kroginold and Jemmy leave our 
craft. They were surrounded, it’s 
true, by their shields that caught 
light and slid it rapidly around, 
but they did look so unguarded — 
no, they didn’t! They looked right 
at home and intent on their rescue 



mission. They disappeared from 
the sight of our windows. We wait- 
ed and waited, not saying any- 
thing — not aloud, anyway. I could 
feel a clanking through the floor 
under me. And a scraping. Then 
a long nothing again. 

Finally they came back in sight, 
the light from our window glinting 
across a mutual protective bubble 
that enclosed the two of them and 
a third inert figure between them. 

*'He still thinks he's dead," said 
Vincent soberly. “He's wondering 
if he ought to try to pray. He wasn't 
expecting people after he died. 
But mostly he's trying not to 

They brought him in and laid 
him on the floor. They eased him 
out of his suit and wrapped him 
in my blanket. We three gathered 
around him, looking at his quiet, 
tight face. So youngl I thought. 
So youngl Unexpectedly his eyes 
opened, and he took us in, one by 
one. At the sight of Vincent, his 
mouth dropped open and his eyes 
fled shut again. 

“What'd he do that for?" asked 
Vincent, a trifle hurt. 

“Angels,” said his mother firm- 
ly, “are not supposed to have pea- 
nut butter around the mouth!" 

The three men consulted brief- 
ly. Then Mr. Kroginold prepared 
to leave our craft again. This time 
he took a blanket from the Rescue 
Pack they had brought in the craft. 

“He can manage the body 
alone," said Jemmy, being our in- 

ter-com. A little later — “He has 
the body out, but he's gone back — " 
His forehead creased, then cleared. 
“Oh, the tapes and instrument 
packets," he explained to our ques- 
tioning glances. “He thinks maybe 
they can study them and prevent 
this happening again." 

He turned to Mrs. Kroginold. 
“Well, Lizbeth, back when all of 
you were in school together in the 
canyon, I wouldn't have given a 
sandwiched quarter for the 
chances of any Kroginold ever 
turning out well. I sprinkle repent- 
ant ashes on my bowed head. Some 
good can come from Kroginoldsl" 

And Vincent screamed! 

Before we could look his way, 
there was a blinding flash that ex- 
ploded through every window as 
though we had suddenly been 
stabbed through and through. 
Then we were all tumbled in blind- 
ed confusion from one wall of our 
craft to another until, almost as 
suddenly, we floated in a soundless 
blackness. “Jake! Oh, Jake!" I 
heard Mrs. Kroginold's whispering 
gasp. Then she cried out, “Jemmy! 
Jemmy! What happened? Where’s 

Light came back. From where, I 
never did know. I hadn't known its 
source even before. 

“The retro-rockets — " I felt 
more of his answer than I heard. 
“Maybe they finally fired. Or may- 
be the whole capsule just blew up. 

“Might have holed us." A voice 



I hadn't heard before answered, 
'‘Didn’t. Capsule’s gone.” 

“But — but — ” The enormity of 
what had happened slowed our 
thoughts. ' Mrs. Kroginold 

screamed. “Jemmy! Ron! Jake’s out 

And, as suddenly as the outcry 
came, it was cut off. In terror I 
crouched on the floor, my arms up 
defensively, not to my ears as Vin- 
cent’s had gone — there was noth- 
ing to hear — but against the 
soundless, aimless tumbling of 
bodies above me. Jemmy and Vin- 
cent and Mrs. Kroginold were like 
corpses afloat in some invisible sea. 
And Vincent, burrowed into a 
corner, was a small, silent, 
humped-up bundle. 

I think I would have gone mad 
in the incomprehensible silence if 
a hand hadn’t clutched mine. Star- 
tled, I snatched my hand away, but 
gave it back, with a sob, to our 
shipwrecked stranger. He accepted 
it with both of his. We huddled 
together, taking comfort in having 
someone to cling to. 

Then I shook with hysterical 
laughter as I suddenly realized. 
“'A sort of telepathy’!” I giggled. 
“They are not dead, but speak. 
Words are slow, you know.” I 
caught the young man’s puzzled 
eyes. “And of very little use in a 
situation like this.” 

I called to Ron where he 
crouched near the amplifier box. 
“They are all right, aren’t they?” 

“They?” His head jerked up- 

ward. “Of course. Communica- 

“Where’s Mr. Kroginold?” I 
asked. “How can we ever hope to 
find him out there?” 

“Trying to reach him,” said Ron, 
his chin flipping upward again. 
“Don’t feel him dead. Probably 
knocked out. Can’t find him un- 

“Oh.” The stranger’s fingers 
tightened on mine. I looked at 
him. He was struggling to get up. 
I let go of him and shakily, on 
hands and knees we crawled to the 
window, his knees catching on the 
blanket. For a long moment, the 
two of us stared out into the dark- 
ness. I watched the lights wheel 
slowly past until I re-oriented, and 
we were the ones wheeling. But as 
soon as I relaxed, again it was the 
lights wheeling slowly past. I did- 
n’t know what we were looking for. 
I couldn’t get any kind of perspec- 
tive on anything outside our craft. 
Any given point of light could have 
been a dozen light-years away — 
or could have been a glint inside 
the glass — or was it glass? — 
against which I had my nose 

But the stranger seemed to 
know what he Was looking for. 
Suddenly I cried out and twisted 
my crushed fingers to free them. 
He let go and gestured toward the 
darkness, saying something tenta- 
tive and hopeful. 

“Ron!” I called, trying to see 
what the man w^as seeing. “Maybe 



— maybe he sees something.” 
There was a stir above me and 
Jemmy slid down to the floor be- 
side me. 

''A visual sighting?” he whis- 
pered tensely. 

don’t know,” I whispered 
back. ''Maybe he — ” 

Jemmy laid his hand on the 
man’s wrist, and then concentrat- 
ed on whatever it was out in the 
void that had caught the stranger s 

"Ron — ” Jemmy gestured out 
the window and — well, I guess 
Ron gestured with our craft — be- 
cause things outside swam a dif- 
ferent way until I caught a flick 
or a gleam or a movement. 

"There, there, there,” crooned 
Jemmy, almost as though soothing 
an anxious child. "There, there, 
there, Lizbeth!” 

And all of us except Ron were 
crowded against the window, 
watching a bundle of some sort 
tumbling toward us. "Shield in- 
tact,” whispered Jemmy. "Praise 
the Power!” 

"Oh, Daddy, Daddy!” choked 
Vincent against his whitened 
knuckles. Mrs. Kroginold clung to 
him wordlessly. 

Then Jemmy was gone, streak- 
ing through our craft, away out- 
side from us. I saw the glint of his 
shield as he rounded our craft. I 
saw him gather the tumbling bun- 
dle up and disappear with it. Then 
he was back in the craft again, 
kneeling — unglinted — beside Mr. 

Kroginold as he lay on the floor. 
Mrs. Kroginold and Vincent 
launched themselves toward them. 

Our stranger tugged at his half- 
shed blanket. I shuffled my knees 
o£F it and he shivered himself back 
into it. 

They had to peel Mr. Krogi- 
nold’s arms from around the in- 
strument packet before they could 
work on him — in their odd, un- 
doing way of working. And the 
stranger and I exchanged wavery 
smiles of congratulations when 
Mr. Kroginold finally opened his 

So that was it. After it was all 
over, I got the deep, breath-draw- 
ing feeling I get when I have fin- 
ished a most engrossing book, and 
a sort of last-page-flipping — feel- 
ing, wistfully wishing there were 
more — ^just a little morel 

Oh, the loose ends? I guess there 
were a few. They tied themselves 
quite casually and briskly in the 
next few days. 

It was only a matter of mo- 
ments after Mr. Kroginold had sat 
up and smiled a craggy smile of 
satisfaction at the packet he had 
brought back with him that Ron 
said, "Convenient.” And we spi- 
raled down — or so it felt to me 
to the Earth beneath while Jemmy, 
fingers to our stranger’s wrist, com- 
municated to him in such a way 
that the stranger’s eyes got very 
large and astonished and he looked 
at me — at mel — questioningly. I 



nodded. Well, what else could I 
do? He was asking something, and, 
so far, every question around these 
People seemed to have a positive 

So it was that we delivered him, 
not to the FBI in Washington, but 
to his own doorstep at a launching 
base somewhere deep in his own 
country. We waited, hovering un- 
der our unlight and well flowed, 
until the door swung open and 
gulped him in, instrument packet, 
my blanket, and all. 

Imagination boggles at the re- 
ception there must have been for 
him! They surely knew the cap- 
sule had been destroyed in orbit. 
And to have him walk in — I 

And Mr. Kroginold struggled 
for a couple of days with ‘'Virus X'* 
without benefit of the company 
doctor, then went back to work. 

A couple of weeks later they 
moved away to another lab, half 
across the country, where Mr. Kro- 
ginold could go on pursuing what- 
ever it is he is pursuing. 

And a couple of days before they 
left, I quite unexpectedly gave 
Vincent a going-away gift. 

That morning Vincent firmed 
his lips, his cheeks coloring, and 
shook his head. “I can't read it," 
he said, and began to close the 

'*That I don't belive," I said 
firmly, my flare of exasperation ig- 
niting into sudden inspiration. 
Vincent looked at me, startled. He 
was so used to my acceptance of his 

reading block that he was shaken a 

“But I can't/* he said patiently. 

“Why not?" I asked bluntly. 

“I have a block," he said as flat- 


“What triggers it?" I probed. 

“Why — why Mother says any- 
thing that suggests unhappy com- 
pulsion — " 

“How do you know this story 
has any such thing in it?" I asked. 
“All it says in the title is a name — 

“But I ]inow/' he said miserably, 
his head bent as he flicked the 
pages of the story with his thumb. 

“I'll tell you how you know," I 
said. “You know because you've 
read the story already." 

“But I haven't!" Vincent's face 
puckered. “You only brought this 
book today!" 

“That's true," I said. “And you 
turned the pages to see how long 
the story was. Only then did you 
decide you woitldnt read it — 

“I don't understand — " Wonder 
was stirring in his eyes. 

“Vincent," I said, “you read this 
whole story in the time it took you 
to turn the pages. You gulped it 
page by page and that's how you 
know there’s unhappy compulsion 
in it. So, you refuse to read it — 

“Do — do you really think so?" 
asked Vincent in a hopeful half 
whisper. “Oh, Teacher, can I real- 
ly read after all? I've been so 


ashamed! One of the People, and 
not able to read!” 

*'Lets check/' I said, excited, 
too. ‘'Give me the book. I'll ask you 
questions — " And I did. And he 
answered every single one of them! 

“I can read!" He snatched the 
book from me and hugged it to him 
with both arms. “Hey! Gene! I can 

“Big deal!" said Gene, glancing 
up from his labor on the butcher 
paper spread on the floor. He was 
executing a fanciful rendition, in 
tempera, of the Indians greeting 
Columbus in a chartreuse, magen- 
ta and shriek-pink jungle. “I 
learned to read in the first grade. 
Which way do a crocodile’s knees 

“All you have to remember," I 
said to a slightly dashed Vincent, 
“is to slow down a bit and be a 
little less empathetic," I was as 
pleased as he was. “And to think 
of the time I wasted for both of 
us, making you sound out your 
words — " 

“But I need it," he said. “I still 
can’t spell for sour apples!" 

Vincent gave me a going-away 
present the Friday night that the 
Kroginolds came to say goodbye. 
We were sitting in the twilight on 
the school porch. Vincent, shaken 
by having to leave Rinconcillo and 
Gene, and still thrilling to know- 
ing he could read, gave me one of 
his treasures. It was a small rock, 
an odd crystaline formation that 


contrived at the same time to be 
betryoidal. In the curve of my 
palm it even had a strange feeling 
of resilience, though there was no 
yielding in it when I pressed my 
thumb to it. 

“Daddy brought it to me from 
the moon," he told me, and deftly 
fielded it as my astonishment let it 
fall. “I’ll probably get another one, 
someday," he said as he gave it back 
to me. “But even if I don’t, I want 
you to have it." 

Mr. and Mrs. Kroginold and I 
talked quietly for a while with no 
reference to parting. I shook them 
a little with, “Why do you suppose 
that stranger could send his 
thoughts to Vincent? I mean, he 
doesn’t pick up distress from every- 
one, very apparently. Do you sup- 
pose that man might be from Peo- 
ple like you? Are there People like 
you in that part of the world?" 

They looked at each other, star- 
tled. “We really don’t know!" said 
Mr. Kroginold. “Many of our Peo- 
ple were unaccounted for when we 
arrived on Earth, but we just as- 
sumed that all of them were dead 
except for the groups around here 


“I wonder if it ever occurred to 
Jemmy," said Mrs. Kroginold 

After they left, disappearing 
into the shadows of the hillside to- 
ward MEL, I sat for a while long- 
er, turning the moon-pebble in my 
hands. What an odd episode! In a 
month or so it would probably 



seem like a distant dream, melting 
into my teaching years along with 
all the other things past. But it still 
didn’t seem quite linished to me. 
Meeting people like the Kroginolds 
and the others, makes an indelible 
impression on a person. Look what 
it did for that stranger — 

What about that stranger? How 
was he explaining? ^Vere they giv- 

ing him a hard time? Then I 
gulped. I had just remembered. 
My name and address were on a 
tape on the corner of that blanket 
of mine he had been wrapped in. 
If he had discovered it — ! And if 
things got too thick for him — 
Oh, gollee! What if some day 
there comes a knock on my door 
and there — ! 


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Stephen Barr returns with a delightful tale about a girl who, 
after nineteen years of not feeling like getting up, awakens 
without a superego. There are more gods in the unconscious 
than the followers of Freud would have us believe, so if 
there is a moral to this story, it is that you should make sure 
your shrink does some outside reading. 


by Stephen Barr 

Psychiatry tells us that 
babies are bom without a con- 
science. Some may achieve it 
spontaneously, but all — it is said 
— eventually have it thrust upon 
them. It is then called the super- 

Our heroine, Vanessa, was 
born in the usual way, but on 
taking her first breatli it turned, 
not into a cry of disbelief as is 
common among babies, but into 
a snore. She had inherited a 
somnolent inclination from a re- 
mote, upstate New York ancestor 
and remained in this nearly un- 
approachable condition until she 
was nineteen. I say ‘"nearly” be- 
cause, as every psychiatrist knows, 
we are, whether consciously or 
not, aware of everything that goes 

on about us. So, in the rosy con- 
volutions of her sleeping brain, 
she developed a good enough 
knowledge of English, though her 
minikin tongue had not yet es- 
sayed the act of speech. 

Speech had gone on in her 
vicinity: “I think it's too hot in 
here for her,” or, “When do you 
think she'll wake. Doctor?” and 
so on, but who would attempt to 
rebuke or teach morals to a sleep- 
ing child? She lay there, taking it 
all in and growing quite normal- 
ly, but into a more than normal 
beauty. Her optimistic mother 
kept buying her clothes — first ba- 
bies', then little girls', then even- 
tually size 12 — so that when she 
finally awoke she got up and got 
dressed. Don't ask me how: she 


just did, and she was alone — tall, 
beautiful, exquisitely turned out 
and totally without a superego. 
Then she walked downstairs. 

Her parents, when they got 
over their surprise, found her to 
be even more lovely and winning 
than they had expected, and her 
speech was in no way childish. 
The only puzzling thing was a 
trace of a Viennese accent. 

Her first words were, ‘This is a 
very nice dress. Mother, but I 
think I shall have to raise the 
hem a little.'' Later on she said 
she would like to learn to read, 
but she kept putting it off. The 
young men who came around 
were picked by her parents on the 
basis of intelligence, a neat ap- 
pearance and good upbringing, 
but they were one and all uneasy 
with her. Jiist why, it is hard to 
say, and they did not know them- 
selves. True, she had no con- 
science, but she had a heart — 
they are not after all synonymous. 
Yet there was something about 
her that gave them pause. A heart, 
if warm enough, is insurance 
against hurting others, and a good 
mind may help protect its owner, 
but these two endowments, ben- 
eficient as they may be, will not 
stop the censorious. Mesdames 
Grundy and Rumor put their 
heads together, and in no time 
there was Talk. 

When it reached the Van Win- 
kles, Senior, they were confound- 
ed. How could this possibly be? 


— they asked one another. Vanes- 
sa had not heard the talk because 
no one had the nerve to repeat it 
to her. To look into Vanessa s eye 
was like looking into an X-ray 
tube: you could see in, but that 
wasn't the half of it. 

A young man of indeterminate 
origin, named Walkly, somehow 
managed to gain entrance to the 
Van Winkle household. These 
things are done in a manner quite 
similar to cutting in at a coming- 
out party. The Lord knows how 
you got invited, or why you came, 
but all you have to do is walk 
across the dance floor and tap a 
more eligible man, and next thing 
you know, you are holding the 
belle of the ball in your arms. 
Walkly was not holding Vanessa 
in his arms, however. Here for 
the first time was a man who, 
though plainly attracted, kept his 
distance. It was most peculiar. 

“My parents disapprove of 
you," she said, but he didn't seem 
moved. “They say you inherited a 
fortune, but lost it." 

“I didn't lose it," Walkly said. 
“I like to be liked and all that, 
but not for my money, so I gave 
it to Harvard University. It was 
nearly a million." 

“Golly!" Vanessa said. “Whv 

“Well, you see, I went to 
Yale . . ;' 

“I don't follow you, but I 
expect that's because I'm only six 
months old." 



''Really?” Walkly said, looking 
at her closely. "Is it true about 
you sleeping for nineteen years?” 

"Of course not. I was awake 
the whole time — I just didn’t feel 
like getting up. Why aren’t you 
scared of me? All the other 
young men are.” 

"You’re the only person I’m not 
afraid of.” 

'Tou don’t act scared of my 

"That’s merely protective col- 
oration. Did you know there’s a 
lot of talk about you?” 

"There is? What sort of talk?” 

"Bad. That’s why I wanted to 
meet you. The kind of people who 
do the talking is always very re- 
vealing: in this instance if the 
people who were doing the talk- 
ing had been praising you, fd 
have run like hell. Would you like 
me to teach you to read?” 

"All right.” 

After the first lesson Walkly 
said, 'Tou’re very clever. Only I 
don’t think you were awake all 
that time.” 

Vanessa smiled — others might 
have blushed but, then, they have 
superegos. When Walkly left she 
took her mother aside. 

"Walkly says there’s been a lot 
of talk about me,” she said. 

Her mother’s face stiffened. 
don’t like that young man, dear, 
and I wish you wouldn’t call peo- 
ple by their last names.” 

"He doesn’t mind, Mother.” 

"That’s neither here nor there,” 

Mrs. Van Winkle said. "It’s not 
done. And I wish you’d stop see- 
ing him — there’s something ♦ , • 
cold about him.” 

Vanessa looked thoughtful and 
shook her head. "Just because 
something isn’t done,” she said, 
"is that any reason I mustn’t?” 

"Yes, dear.” 

"But I don’t understand.” 

"I know, dear. We’ll have to 
have a talk about it sometime.” 

"You keep saying that. Mother, 
but we never have the talk. Oh, 
that reminds me: what was all 
the talk about me?” 

. "I haven’t heard a word of it.” 

Being as she was, Vanessa took 
this at its face value, but her 
mother was rather honest, too, 
and proceeded to give the show 
away. "That is,” she amended, 
"I’ve only been told there ims 
talk ...” 

"That’s what I meant,” Vanes- 
sa said. "I’ve noticed that’s the 
way people do it — they say there’s 
been talk, and you ask them what, 
and they tell you. Only that way 
they think they aren’t gossiping 
because you asked them.” 

"I don’t think I quite follow, 

When her father came home 
Vanessa decided to ask him. Hav- 
ing a well-developed conscience, 
Mr. Van Winkle at once denied 
having heard any talk at all, but 
then^^he too gave the show away. 
"I think you ought to show more 
discretion, though.” 


‘That means not letting them 
know what you re doing, doesn’t 

“Er . . . yes." Mr. Van Win- 
kle smiled. “The school principal 
was here and he says you hare 
to go to school." 

“Walkly’s teaching me to read," 
Vanessa replied. “And anyway it 
doesn’t apply if you’re OTer six- 
teen, and I’m nineteen. Walkly 
said so." 

Mr. Van Winkle’s face be- 
trayed aversion for Walkly but 
approbation of his views. “I told 
the principal under the circum- 
stances it might be better to have 
a tutor, but he said it was a 
special case." 

Mrs. Van Winkle came in and 
did not at first see her daughter. 
“Oh, John!" she said in a loud 
whisper, “that dreadful Helen 
Potter from the P.T.A. is here! 
She says if Vanessa goes to the 
school she’ll — " She stopped as 
she caught sight of Vanessa. 

“She’ll what, Mother?" 

“Oh dear, I wish you’d been 
more ... I mean, less . . 

“Well, I’m not going to school, 
so they can all shut up. And why 
does the principal insist that I 
go, and the others insist that I 
don’t? They all sound crazy.” 

Mrs. Potter had been listening 
at die door, and she came in full 
of indignation. “The very idea!” 
she cri^. “So now weWe crazy, 
are we? Fine thing! Letting her 
talk like that in front of guests!” 


“It wasn’t in front of you," 
Vanessa pointed out. “You were 
eavesdropping. You know, I’ve 
often wondered why it’s called 
that: it hasn’t anything to do 
with — ’’ 

“Brazen!" Mrs. Potter inter- 
jected loudly. “That’s what I call 
it!" She was unaware that the 
school principal — who also hap- 
pened to be her husband — want- 
ed Vanessa to be in die school, 
until she overheard it, and it 
confused her. “If you can’t teach 
your daughter to behave, Mrs. 
Van Winkle, I think it would be 
best to place her in an institu- 

“Well, reaUy!" Mrs. Van Win- 
kle began, and her husband said, 
“Now just hold on a minute, Mrs. 
Potter — Vanessa is, in effect, 
very young and unaccustomed to 
the world — ’* 

“I wouldn’t describe her be- 
havior that way!" Mrs. Potter in- 
terrupted. “She . . ." She turned 
to include Vanessa in the denun- 
ciation, but the girl was lying on 
the sofa, fast asleep. 

“Oh dear!" Mrs. Van Winkle 
said. “She often goes to sleep 
when people . , . er, talk cross- 
ly, and it takes ever so long to 
wake her . . .’’ She went and sat 
by her daughter and patted her 
cheek, but without result. Mrs. 
Potter sniffed disdainfully, but as 
she seemed to have lost her au- 
dience, she left. 

Vanessa slept through till the 



next afternoon, and then went to 
the summerhouse at the end of 
their garden in hopes tliat Walkly 
might turn up — they had used it 
as a meeting place. It was there, 
she felt, that they had become al- 
most intimate, conversationally. 
She had asked him if he hadn't 
kept any of the million dollars. 

mean enough so that you don't 
have to work?” she added. 

*‘Oh, I like my work,” he re- 
plied. '‘And I make a fair living 
at it, too.” 

Why had he told her that? 
Did it mean anything personal? 
They were interrupted by a heli- 
copter, and the subject was 
dropped. Her meditations were 
interrupted this time by the ap- 
pearance of Mr. Potter, the school 
principal. “Your mother said I'd 
find you here,” he said in the way 
one talks to a child — with a fixed 
and unrelated smile. Otherwise 
he was athletic and quite hand- 
some. “I would like to talk to 

“All right, but not about school. 
I’m not going. Besides, your wife 
said she’d do something if I did. 
She didn’t say what, though.” 

Mr. Potter's face showed an- 
noyance — which often resulted 
from the mention of his wife. 
“Mrs, Potter perhaps does not 
realize the . . . er, situation.” 

“The situation,” Vanessa said, 
“is that I don't intend to go. I'm 
nineteen, so I don't have to.” 

Mr. Potter disliked intensely to 

have people say they didn't have 
to do something he proposed, and 
he tried to hold onto his temper. 

“You know,” Vanessa said with 
her head on one side, “you’re 
really very attractive.” She leaned 
forward and kissed him. 

Funny — she thought to herself 
— I wouldn't dare do this to 
Walkly. . , . What Mr. Potter's 
reactions might have been will 
never be known as there were now 
two almost simultaneous interrup- 
tions. The first was the arrival of 
a very thin man of about forty- 
five who, on seeing them, said, 
“Ah . . as though he was hav- 
ing his throat examined.. He was 
Dr. Spode, and he had been told 
by Mrs, Van Winkle that he 
would find Vanessa in the sum- 
merhouki. He was a general prac- 
titioner who had psychiatric aspi- 
rations, insecurely based on 
having majored in psychology 
before premed. The other inter- 
ruption was Mrs. Potter. 

She had driven her car down 
the lane that led by the summer- 
house, and her worst suspicions 
were confirmed. She stopped the 
car and emerged from it, her eyes 
blazing. “Harold!” she shouted. 
“What is this I see?” The mis- 
creants drew apart. 

Dr. Spode saw his chance and 
took, or attempted to take, charge. 
“Now, Mrs. Potter,” he said sooth- 
ingly, “everything is going to be 
all right. Mr. Potter I'm sure was 
just trying to calm our patient. 



Perhaps it might be best if — ” 
Xalm her, indeed!’' Mrs. Pot- 
ter said, fortissimo. *The hussy!" 
She made her way through a 
hedge and into the summerhouse, 
panting. Mr. Potter flinched ever 
so slightly and tried to look inno- 
cent yet commanding — an un- 
convincing combination. Dr. 
Spode felt that he still had the 
ascendancy and was about to 
prescribe, but the Van Winkles, 
Senior, arrived, drawn by the 
extreme audibility of Mrs. Potter. 

'1 wish you wouldn’t shout so 
at Vanessa," Mrs. Van Winkle 
said. '‘She’s liable to — ’’ 

"Well, I like that!’’ said Mrs* 
Potter. "She—" 

"Be quiet, Helen!" said Mr. 
Potter. "I—" 

"There’s a young man over 
there," said Dr. Spode, pointing. 
Walkly was visible next to the 
house, but when he saw the in- 
tense tableau he disappeared ner- 
vously as if into a rabbit hole. 

"Oh, Lord/" Mr. Van Winkle 
said. "Vanessa’s gone to sleep 

This time there seemed to be 
no waking Vanessa — Dr. Spode 
had asked for a consultation, and 
the specialists agreed she was in 
a trance like the original one. 
Every attempt was made to rouse 
her, but all she did was murmur 
Walkly’s name. Finally they 
shrugged, presented their bills 
and departed. The Van Winkles 

were in despair. Weeks went by — 
Dr. Spode dropped in from time 
to time, but was at a loss, and 
Walkly called every day to ask 
for news but never got further 
than the door mat. 

At last her parents held their 
own consultation. 

"I suppose we owe it to her 
to at least give it a try . . .’’ her 
father said, and her mother nod- 
ded her head reluctantly. 

"I suppose so, but I don’t ap- 
prove of him . . .’’ 

So that afternoon when Walkly 
called he was asked in. 

"I really don’t know what you 
can do that the doctors can’t," 
Mr. Van Winkle said, "but she 
keeps murmuring your — ’’ 

"Oh, I know what to do," 
Walkly broke in, and started for 
the stairs. Mrs. Van Winkle put 
out her hand to stop him, but 
thought better of it. "I’m afraid 
from a medical point of view 
you’d think what I’m going to do 
is a bit silly," Walkly said. "But 
there’s nothing to get worried 
about — it’s a sort of classical situ- 
ation." He smiled nervously and 
went on up. 

When he got there he looked 
at Vannessa, who murmured 
"Walkly," and he bent over and 
kissed her on her beautiful mouth. 

"If you’ll marry me," slie said, 
"I’ll wake up." 

"Of course. That’s what I’ve 
been driving at all along." 

‘Tou have?" she said, opening 


her eyes. '‘And how did you know 
this would do the trick?’" 

“Well, it’s a hobby of mine.” 

“You mean kissing people?” 

“No, of course not. I mean 

“You mean Van Winkle? That 
w^as just Washington Irving’s — ” 

“No. I mean your mother’s 
maiden name: Prynne. I suppose 
it’s a silly sort of hobby — looking 
up family lines.” 

“Well, ^vhat about Prynne? 
It’s just New England . . 

69 ' 

“It’s a form of tlie Norse name, 


“Same as Briinnhilde . . 

“Oh.” She considered for a mo- 
ment. “Well, that’s your hobby, 
but seeing as we’re going to get 
married, don’t you think you 
ought to tell me what your line 
of work is? You never did, you 

“That’s sort of silly, too, when 
you come to think of it: I’m a 

Handsome^ Sturdy 


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In this new age of audio/ visual extravagances ( e, g., multi- 
media productions, magazines that come in boxes, maga- 
zines— so we are reliably informed— that come as boxes that 
you climb into), John Sladek has evidently done some think- 
ing about the future of the book as a flat, printed thing that 
you keep on a shelf, and he has come up with this amazing 


by John Sladek 

As Edward Sankey stepped 
from his limousine, he involun- 
tarily glanced up. The sky was a 
flat, glazed blue, empty of clouds. 
The corner of his eye caught 
movement: a ragged line of 
specks. Birds? He did not wish to 
look directly at them to find out. 
Lowering the black brim of his 
homburg against them, Sankey 
moved on into the courthouse. 

Preston, the other committee 
member, was already at his table, 
laying out batches of documents 
like a game of solitaire. These 
would be new depositions from 
witnesses of the alleged migra- 

tions. Preston seemed to be sorting 
them by some intricate system of 
his own. 

*Tou look as if you had a 
rough night, Ed,’' he murmured. 
'"Hope you re ready to hear our 
last witnesses today. I think we 
can wrap up the report by Thurs- 
day afternoon and get a long 
weekend out of this.” 

— something happened last 
night, Harry.” Sankey dropped 
into a chair and unfastened the 
top button of his overcoat with 
gloved fingers. '‘I — I think I saw 
something myself, And not only 
that, I—” 




“Haven’t got time to go into it 
now, old sport. We’ve got fifty 
witnesses out there to interview, 
and all these statements to read. 
Try to pull yourself together for 
now, and you can tell me all 
about it at lunch.” 

Sankey tried to take his part- 
ner’s advice. Yet all through the 
morning, even as he listened to 
testimony, he found his thoughts 
filled with the events of last 

He was sitting in the reading 
nook, a warmer, cozier room than 
his library. At midnight Sankey 
found himself dozing over a luke- 
warm cup of chocolate and the 
report, in execrable police Eng- 
lish, of one Patrolman H, L. 
Weems : 

“We received a call from the 
protection agency who handles 
the Waxnian Collection of manu- 
scripts. They reported a broken 
window. We jirocceded to the 
scene. We arrived at 10:45. No 
other doors or windows were 
open. The broken glass lay out- 
side, like the window was broken 
outwards. There was a book found 
lying in the grass. Subsequently 
we found no other book missing. 
The book was damaged by broken 
glass. It was a copy of The Nilrn- 
burg Chronicle, a rare book and 
one of the first printed books.” 

Suddenly Edward caught his 
breath. The sound — if a sound 
there had been — seemed to come 

from tlie library. Marian, he sup- 
posed, looking for a sleep-inducing 

The final witnesses were gov- 
ernment experts. Bates of the 
Wildlife Commission was a small, 
balding man with clownish tufts 
of hair over his ears and circum- 
flex eyebrows that made him 
seem utterly astonished by every- 
thing he saw. 

“As this chart shows, the mi- 
grations are not just southward, 
but toward a specific point in the 
Brazilian jungle. The density of 
migrants increases porportionatc- 
ly as one approaches this point. 
We have asked the Air Force to 
overfly this area and report, but it 
seems conventional planes were 
unable to get through. The air is 
literally filled with — ah — mi- 

“What about high-altitude re- 
connaissance planes?” Preston 
asked, his voice hoarse from the 
week’s strain. 

“They have flown over and 
photographed the area extensive- 
ly, but the photographs show 
nothing of special import.” 

The thumping began again. 
Sankey frowned, looking at a re- 
port of dubious significance: 

“Librarian Emma Thwart, 51, 
reports an unknown assailant 
hurled a large dictionary at her 
from behind. The accompanying 
photos are of Miss Thwart’s 



shoulder bruises. If • . 

There was a crash of glass, 
and Sankey came to his feet. 
Moving almost automatically to 
the closet, he selected a golf club 
and crept to the library door. He 
turned out the light behind him, 
slipped an arm inside the door and 
switched on the library light. In 
one movement, he kicked the door 
back and ducked. 

There was no one in the room. 
One pane high in the French 
windows had been broken, but 
they appeared to be still locked. 
Four or five bound volumes of early 
quarterlies were missing from one 
end of the shelf, he noticed, in- 
cluding the first volumes of Dial 
and Transition. They would be 
costly to replace, he thought, 
glancing around. 

Something struck him in the 
back of the head, hard. He fell, 
recalling for no reason the photos 
of Miss Thwarts bruises. , • . 

Mr. Tone of the Library of 
Congress was speaking. 

‘We seem to have a correlation 
between the migrants and the 
rate of book usage — a negative 
correlation, I might add,” he said 
in a pompous voice. ‘We thus find 
that the rare book collections are 
hardest hit. It is no surprise to 
learn that the ‘remaindered' 
shelves of bookstores are being 
picked clean.” He handed out 
Mimeographed sheets of statis- 

“But isn't it a fact, Mr. Tone, 
that the rate of migrations has ac- 
tually increased? And wouldn't 
this imply that more books of all 
types are disappearing?” 

Tone licked papery lips with a 
pale tongue. “Yes. And in fact, 
the books now disappearing arc 
progressively more well-used types. 
According to our latest estimates, 
the entire book output of the 
world will be gone by — ” he 
checked a notebook “ — by the 
twenty-second of this month.” 

“That's Friday, isn't it?” asked 

“Yes, I believe so.” 

“Right. We'll put it into the 
record as Friday, the twenty- 
second of April.” 

Sankey felt he had not been 
unconscious for more than a few 
seconds, yet the entire shelf of 
quarterlies was now missing. He 
staggered to his feet, the useless 
mashie still gripped in his fist, 
and looked about for his as- 

There was a noise down be- 
hind the desk, as of a bird beating 
its broken wing against the floor. 
He yanked the desk back and 
raised the iron. 

Volume I of Gibbon's The De- 
cline and Fall of the Roman Em- 
pire flopped back and forth, 
fanning its leaves madly. The 
binding was broken and torn — no 
doubt from smashing his window 
or knocking him down! So this 



was what had helped the quarter- 
lies eseape! Sankey tried to think 
of his blood pressure, but sudden- 
ly all his thought was concen- 
trated in the fingers that held the 
golf club. Savagely he whipped it 
down at the fluttering thing on 
the floor, again and again, watch- 
ing its thrashing cover pulp and 
shred. . . . 

The witnesses, amateur and 
expert, had strong views on the 
eauses of the migrations. While 
many of the amateurs gave super- 
natural explanations or referred 
to rats leaving a sinking ship, the 
deformation professional was 
clearly no less responsible for 
many distorted opinions. A psy- 
ehologist insisted that cold war 
hysteria and the stress of modern 
living were producing mass hal- 
lucinations; people were unknow- 
ingly destroying or hiding books, 
he said. 

A meteorologist tried to relate 
the migrations to atmospheric dis- 
turbances caused by sunspot ac- 
tivity. Even when his ‘'peculiar 
wind’' theory was proven inade- 
quate, he clung to it childishly. 

Bates of the Wildlife Commis- 
sion hazarded a guess that the 
books were trying to return to a 
state of nature. “It makes sense,” 
he insisted. “They came from 
trees. Who knows but what 
they’ve been conscious, if only on 
some chemical level, of their ori- 
gins? They’ve been longing to re- 

turn to the jungle, and now they 
are doing it.” 

Mr. Tone wondered if books 
felt unloved and rejected. 

“These educational materials,” 
he said. “They stand there, week 
after week, unread. How would 
you feel? You’d commit suicide. 
And that is just what they are do- 
ing, killing themselves like lem- 
mings. I’ve been around books all 
my life, and I tliink I’m qualified 
to say I understand them.” 

Sedley of the NASA explained 
how books flew, but was reluctant 
to assign a meaning to their flight. 
“The way we figure it, they con- 
vert some small part of their mass 
into energy, in some way we don’t 
understand yet. Then they just — 
well, just flap their covers. 

“Anything flat can fly, that 
part is easy. But as for why they 
fly, I’d hate to guess. Maybe Rus- 
sia could answer that question 
quicker than I can. I say no 

Marian was watching the mi- 
grations on television when San- 
key reached home that evening. 

“Telephone books over Flori- 
da,” she said gaily. “Millions of 
them, darling.” 

He glanced at the large, slow- 
flapping, graceful creatures for 
only a moment before going di- 
rectly up to bed. Later he would 
get up to try dealing with the 
final batch of reports, he prom- 
ised himself. 



The ache in the back of his 
head was worse when he awoke 
late in the evening. Though San- 
key tried to examine reports in the 
reading nook, his vision was 
blurred with pain, and he could 
not ignore the thumping sounds 
from the library. 

Marian looked in to say good- 

“If you want a book, dear,'* he 
said carefully, “you'd better let me 
get it for you. The library really 
isn't safe tonight." 

“Oh, goodness no!" she said. 
“I wouldn't think of letting you 
go in there again for any reason! 
Anyway, I'm getting to sleep early 
tonight, I hope. Big doings in 
town tomorrow." 

“Eh? What's that?" 

“They say there's a really huge 
flock passing over the city at 

Sankey and Preston worked on 
the draft of their report for only 
two hours. At 11:30 they were 
out on the courthouse roof with 
binoculars. A dark cloud front 
along the horizon was, Preston 
claimed, the forefront of the 
flock. Sankey trained his binocu- 
lars downward, on the crowds. 

“There certainly is a holiday 
atmosphere down there," he ob- 
served. “It's as if they were wait- 
ing for a parade." He realized 
even as he said it that he, too, 
felt that way. Unaccountably, the 
air had a savor of expected joy for 

him. He examined his bubbly feel- 
ings and questioned them. How 
ridiculous! What did he come out 
to see? He ought to go inside and 
work — but he kept his seat on the 

Below him, traffic was stalled 
for miles in every direction, and 
pedestrians had spilled out into 
the street. Many drivers had given 
up, switched off their engines, 
and climbed upon their car roofs 
to watch. Here and there were 
people with books under their 
arms; they would probably re- 
lease them to see if they joined 
the flock. Hawkers moved up and 
down, dispensing cheap paper- 
backs from cartons. 

“Here they come!" Harry Pres- 
ton cried, leaping up. The cloud 
had advanced, and now Sankey 
could see the individual particles 
of which it was made. Through 
binoculars he could just make out 
the shapes of the leaders, which 
were now flapping steadily. They 
rose in an heroic effort to pull the 
flock up enough to clear die city. 
These were strong, heavy, cloth- 
bound ledgers and reference 
works, and the books rising be- 
hind them, he guessed by their 
wedge formations, would be en- 
cyclopedias. There were perhaps 
ten thousand sets, perhaps a mil- 
lion, he could not guess. A court- 
house window smashed some- 
where below; a set of law refer- 
ences rose in a lazy spiral, beat- 
ing their strong, hard covers. 



Myriads of volumes of all 
types came on then, grouped now 
by color, now by age. He noted 
one giant hymnal, its parchment 
leaves opening downward to ex- 
pose square, black single notes, 
each larger than a human hand. 
It was accompanied by a host of 
tiny old psalters or books of hours, 
he could not be sure which, hov- 
ering like ministering cherubim. 
Immediately behind them were 
serried ranks of textbooks in gray 
covers, flapping their pictureless, 
colorless leaves in unison. Old 
medical books with brilliant plates 
flew over, their leaves sodden, 
dripping from some recent show- 
er. Close behind these were slim 
volumes of poetry in green limp 
leather, blue burlap or brown 
wrapping paper; Sankey was sur- 
prised to find these needed as 
much effort as the rest to stay 
aloft. Behind them fluttered 
beautiful loose-leaf cookbooks and 
gay picture magazines. 

Here was all of literature, all 
of philosophy, all modern and an- 
cient sciences, the sum of written 
thought. Sankey trained his bi- 
noculars on nearer titles that 
flashed by: Pascal’s Pensees in a 
small indigo volume; Whitman’s 
Leaves of Grass in olive green; 
Rembrandt in burnt umber; 
Training the Collie in white, and 
a small black pocket Bible. Here 
were the last living records of 
civilized man : almanacs, bank- 
books, address books, diaries, bor- 

rowed violet volumes from li- 
braries. They fluttered and twin- 
kled a thousand colors against the 
dimming sunlight (dimmed, he 
reminded himself, by other myr- 
iads like them): cheap paperback 
thrillers alongside Tractatus La- 
gica-Philosophicus; , Voltaire by 
Aquinas; Rabelais next to Eliza- 
beth Barrett Browning. 

And now the crowds below were 
holding up their volumes, spread 
face-down across their forearms, 
lofting them to the stinging wind. 
With a great, deep applause of 
clattering pages, these thousands 
of books rose to join the flock 

'Wish wp had something to 
send up,” Sankey shouted over 
the noise. 

"Checkbooks! How about check- 

The two gray-haired men 
brought out their black check- 
books and solemnly flung them to 
the breeze. The thin, awkward 
things soared for a moment un- 
certainly, then began to flap their 
leathern wings with great energy. 

"There must be something 
else,” Preston complained. 

"Why not the draft of the re- 

"Why not? Who would want 
to read it anyhow, now: 'A Report 
on the Migrations of Educational 

They lifted the half-completed 
draft from Preston’s briefcase and 
balanced it a moment on the 



building's parapet. The spring 
clip at one side held the pages in a 
sort of book form, Sankey sup- 
posed. It might work. 

‘‘After you," he said, stepping 

Preston opened the batch of 
paper, lifted it like a shot putter 
and threw it straight out from the 
roof. It dipped, flapped shut and 

fell. Just as Sankey groaned, the 
bundle opened its wings once 
more, several floors below them, 
and began to fly. 

It climbed fast, a magnificent 
patch of white against the dark 
cloud. Through the binoculars San- 
key watched it join its brethren 
and turn itself toward the south. It 
was soon out of sight. 

Coming next month • • • 

is tlie month of December, which in itself, we admit, is not 
enough to generate a headlong rush to the newsstands for our 
January issue. So — We asked Hugo award-winner Harlan Ellison 
to do a special Holiday yarn for us, and he has come up with a 
story that defies generalized description. It is titled SANTA CLAUS 
VS. S.P.I.D.E.R. It has a Santa Claus, sort of; it has hideous 
aliens; it has Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago; it does not have a 
dull or unfunny moment. If you've ever wondered whether there 
really is a Santa Claus; if you've ever wondered whether there 
really is a Ronald Reagan, you cannot afford to miss this story. 

Mr. Ellison received two Hugos — for best short story and best 
dramatic presentation — at this fall's World Science Fiction Con- 
vention in Berkeley, California. The award for best novella was 
won by Anne McCaffrey, for her story “Weyr Search." She is the 
first woman ever to win a Hugo, and we are pleased to announce 
that the January issue will feature a new sf novelet by Anne Mc- 
Caffrey called A MEETING OF MINDS. Its a superior story. 

The January issue is on sale November 26 . 

Leonard Tushnet (gifts from the universe, May 1968) 
brings his distinctive brand of storytelling to this tale of Dr. 
Zvi Ben-Ari, who tracks down a myth and makes an extraor- 
dinary discovery in a small tent village in the desert of the 


by Leonard Tushnet 

Like most of his colleagues 
at the Weizmann Institute of Sci- 
ence at Rehovoth, Zvi Ben-Ari, 
Ph.D. in biochemistry, was an 
amateur archeologist. But while 
they used their vacations to dig at 
Massada or Caesarea, he spent all 
his spare time reading the Bible 
and the commentaries thereon, 
laying the groundwork for their 
searches. A suggestion of his had 
led to the discovery of the long-lost 
smelting plant near Timna. He 
also had truly predicted that the 
excavations for the housing project 
in the Old City of Jerusalem would 
disclose a series of underground 
chambers painted with scenes of 
sacrifices to Phoenician deities. 

Dr. Ben-Ari had a simple ex- 
planation for his studies. “I don't 
believe in shoveling and sifting 
dirt," he said. ‘That's too haphaz- 

ard. What do you find if you're 
lucky? Another piece of parch- 
ment, a bill of divorcement? Or a 
pot full of Herodian coins? Or a 
stack of broken wine jars? No, the 
best way is the scientific way. Go 
to what's at hand, scrape it clean 
of the overlying encrustations and 
ornamentations, and try to find 
the truth that's hidden. In the 
biblical legends lie buried ancient 
techniques. Uncovering them is 
more fun and easier on the back 
than using a pick and shovel." 

His reasoning convinced one of 
his students, Moshe Gofen, that he 
was right. Finding a disciple filled 
Dr. Ben-Ari with enthusiasm. He 
explained Project Shamir to 

"When Solomon built the First 
Temple," he said, "he recalled the 
words of Exodus 20:25, ‘If thou 




make an altar of stone unto Me, 
make it not of hewn stones; for if 
thy tool be lifted on it, tliou hast 
polluted it/ Iron tools signified 
the sword and all weapons of war. 
Iron, therefore, could not be used 
to hew the stones for a building 
dedicated to the God of peace and 
of life. We know from the descrip- 
tions of the Temple, nevertheless, 
that it was not built of rough 
stones from the quarry but from 
hewn stones. The legends of the 
Midrash say in several places that 
to break the huge rocks Solomon 
placed on tliem the ^vorm Shamir, 
which had the power to break 
rocks and make iron as brittle as 
glass merely by its presence. That 
fantastic fiction must have bad 
some basis in fact, but between the 
ninth centur}^ before the Christian 
era and the third to the fifth after, 
the trials and tribulations of the 
Jews made them remember with 
longing the glamour and the glory 
of the great king. The stories of 
that time, told and retold as they 
were in the Oral Tradition, be- 
came so elaborate that the original 
fact was lost. Its the job of the 
scientist to find the fact interred 
under the fairy tales.” 

Moshe chuckled. ”And you 
think there really was a worm 

‘'Not at all,” Dr. Ben-Ari re- 
plied. "Such a creature is as 
mythologic as tlic basilisk and the 
hippogriff. But there was some- 
thing King Solomon used to break 

the stones, call it the worm Sha- 
mir or what you will. It’s our job 
to find it.” 

The two men used what little 
time they had painstakingly going 
over the commentaries on Kings 
and Chronicles. From there they 
went on to the Solomonic legends, 
both in Hebrew and Arabic. The 
story of the worm Shamir began to 
appear in apocryphal fragments in 
dubiously dated narratives from 
long before the Hasmoncan d}- 
nasty. Then there \vas no mention 
of it until after the destruction of 
the Second Temple, when it again 
occurred in folk talcs and miracle 
stories. The Kabbalists of the medi- 
eval German ghettos and the 
traveling preachers of Poland add- 
ed so many more fanciful details 
about tlie virtues of the worm 
Shamir that in the most recent 
stories its original function was 

All the reading led up blind 
alleys. One thing, however, was 
accomplished. Dr. Ben-Ari and 
Moshe definitely established by 
their studies tliat tlie land of Ophir 
whence came "gold and algiim 
trees” was not Monomotapaland, 
as had been suspected, but Fritrca. 
A British syndicate headed by Sir 
Albert Stern, acting on the much 
publicized report, rediscovered the 
lost gold mines, richer than those 
of Soutli Africa. In gratitude. Sir 
Albert gave Dr. Ben-Ari an enor- 
mous grant of funds for further 



Freed from their academic tasks 
and with so much money to spend, 
the two men started all over again 
on Project Shamir. This time they 
used a computer into which they 
fed the material from the legends. 
'‘Now well do it right,*' said Dr. 
Ben-Ari. "We'll start from the lat- 
est stories and work backwards in 

With the techniques developed 
by Christian exegetists to deter- 
mine the authorship of the books 
of the New Testament, they gave 
the computer everything that was 
known about the worm Shamir. 
What came out was two surprising 
bits of information: that sledom 
was the worm Shamir mentioned 
without mention of the woodcock 
and that the worm Shamir could 
not abide dryness. 

"Woodcocks? What are wood- 
cocks?" asked Moshe, who was, 
like all sabras, native born Israelis, 
more acquainted with soccer than 
with hunting. 

"I think they're like pheasants. 
Or maybe quail?" Dr. Ben-Ari was 
equally ignorant. "But it's easy to 
find out. Check with the ornithol- 

"There are no woodcocks in 
Israel," Moshe reported later, "and 
there have been none since the 
days of the Romans," 

"Ah-ha!" Dr. Ben-Ari's eyes 
glinted. "That makes its mention 
more significant. The worm Sha- 
mir and the woodcock are some- 
how tied together." 

Moshe laughed. "Such close 
contact would be bad for the worm. 
The woodcock would have eaten it 
long ago." He stopped short, as 
though an idea had suddenly 
struck him. Dr. Ben-Ari nodded; 
he had had the same thought. 
Moshe continued his report. "Dr. 
Shechem says that woodcocks are 
allied to snipes and sandpipers, 
and like them inhabit wet areas 
such as river bottoms. The ecology 
of Palestine has changed over the 
centuries. Woodcocks and other 
game birds, formerly plentiful 
here, disappeared from the land 
when their food supply vanished 
because of the inereasing aridity, 
which he attributes to the devasta- 
tion by the Romans after the Bar- 
Kochba revolt and to the progres- 
sive deforestation of the post- 
Exilic period. One thing more 
— quite significant. Tlie wood- 
cock's beak is specially adapted for 
digging for earthworms." 

Both Moshe and his mentor felt 
the thrill that told them they were 
on the right track. Woodcocks and 
earthworms. The worm Shamir. 
Their researches took a new turn 
in the direction of Lumbricidae. 
On that subject there was a wealth 
of material, so much so that were 
it not for the computer they would 
have been lost in it. The computer 
helped them to cut out non-essen- 
tials, and by combining its infor- 
mation with the worm Shamir's 
legendary fear of dryness they 
came to the conclusion that in the 



mucoid slime excreted for lubrica- 
tion by all lumbricoids lay the 
secret of the worm Shamir. They 
also discovered, to their dismay, 
that the earthworms indigenous to 
Palestine had long been super- 
seded by new peregrine varieties in 
die irrigated and cultivated areas. 
Again Project Shamir seemed to be 
at a dead end. 

Before giving up they sat down 
to think. Dr. Ben-Ari said, '‘We 
seek a substance secreted by a 
species of earthworm, a substance 
that has adsorptive and penetrat- 
ing powers similar to dimethyl 
sulfoxide, a substance that can al- 
ter the structure of rock. The prob- 
lem is where to find that earth- 
worm, if it still exists anywhere in 

Moshe made a suggestion. 
“Well, it- wouldn’t be in the kib- 
butzim or any newly developed 
farm areas. If it's remained here 
since King Solomon’s time, it can 
only be in relatively isolated natu- 
rally watered areas in the desert. 
We need a tojiographic survey 
map of Israel that will show oases.” 

The map showed dozens of tiny 
oases in the desert of the Negev, 
some named, some unnamed. The 
prospect of visiting them all, dig- 
ging for eartliworms, and then 
identifying the species dismayed 
the two men. Again they felt they 
had reached an impasse, but Sir 
Albert's money was still available, 
so they hired a couple of Bedouins 
and started their explorations at a 

small oasis fed by a spring near 

Of earthworms there were 
many. They collected them, placed 
them in little plastic boxes filled 
with moistened dirt, and brought 
them back to the helminthologic 
specialist at the Institute. He sort- 
ed them out according to species 
and variety, showed Moshe how to 
distinguish them, and confiden- 
tially told his colleagues he was 
convinced that Moshe and Dr. 
Ben-Ari were victims of a peculiar 
folie a deux. The two men heard 
the gossip about their mania and 
at times felt it was well founded, 
because tlie most careful analysis 
of the slime from every kind of 
lumbricoid tliey collected showed 
it had an identical chemical com- 
position. It was a mucopolysac- 
charide. But by now the spirit of 
the chase was in them. They would 
not give up. Dr. Ben-Ari set up a 
portable laboratory in a truck, got 
a small bus to transport more 
workers, and planned to go deep 
into the desert to another spring- 
fed oasis. 

The Bedouins who worked for 
them also thought they were era/y. 
Yussuf ibn Mahmud Cefik, the 
foreman, discussed the matter 
with his kinsmen, who made up 
tlie work crew. “The Jews are 
filled with a madness. It will not 
be long before the authorities place 
them in a House of Mercy, and 
then our Jobs will be lost. They 
seek eartliworms. Let us take them 



back home to the Wadi Malikat- 
yar, where earthworms abound. 
There while they play with their 
glass bottles and brushing ma- 
chines we can be near to our fam- 
ilies/' His cousins and brothers 
and uncles nodded. It was a good 

Yussuf approached Dr. Ben-Ari 
and made the polite obeisance. 
'‘Sir, I have wondered at your 
work. If you seek earthworms there 
is one place where they are fat and 
many. We can take you there. It is 
not far from Yotvata, at the Wadi 

Yotvata, Dr. Ben-Ari knew, was 
a garden spot not far from Timna, 
but his eyes lit up at the mention 
of the wadi's name. "Why is it 
called the Wadi of the Kingbirds?" 
he asked. "And if it is indeed a 
wadi, a dry river course, then how 
are earthworms found there?'’ 

Yussuf shrugged. "Such has 
been its name since before the 
time of the Prophet. The wadi is 
dry, of course, but in the spring 
rains it becomes a torrent that 
feeds into the village." He boasted, 
"It is the village of my fathers, 
like no other. It has deep wells 
with pure water and grain grows 
freely thereabouts." 

"Let us go then to the Wadi 
Malikatyar," Dr. Ben-Ari said. 

Moshe was a little doubtful 
when he heard of the proposed 
expedition. "Hopping around from 
place to place is very unsyste- 
matic," he objected. 

Dr. Ben-Ari held up his hand. 
"Maybe it is an omen that the 
wadi is named after birds." 

The tiny tent village was in- 
deed as Yussuf had described it. 
Situated in a small depression in 
the desert, evidently a natural 
catch basin, its gnarled olive trees 
gave shade to the goats wandering 
in the surrounding pasturage; 
small fields of wheat surrounded 
it; a communal sheep fold was at 
one end. What lifted up Moshe’s 
heart was the sound of birds twit- 
tering, a rare occurrence in the 
desert. "Where there are birds, 
there must be food for them, and 
not merely grain." Actually, birds 
were so abundant that the little 
boys and girls of the village were 
given the task of periodically 
running around with brass clap- 
pers to drive them from the fields. 

On the day after their arrival, 
the sheikh, Yussuf's maternal un- 
cle, invited the learned doctor and 
his assistant to a feast of welcome. 
After the dinner of lamb and 
burghul, eaten with the fingers, had 
been eaten and sweetened coflFee 
passed around, the visitors were 
entertained with wailing songs, 
dissonant music, and finally by 
the story-teller with a tale from the 
Arabian Nights. The visitors ap- 
plauded vigorously and then 
Moshe, with the enthusiam of 
youth, inquired of the story-teller 
whether he knew any tales of King 
Solomon or how the wadi got its 


The story-teller, a venerable old 
man, replied, ‘It is one and the 
same story. It is one my grand- 
fathers grandfather learned from 
his grandfather.” He clapped his 
hands for silence and began, 
“Long, long ago, before the days of 
the Prophet, King Solomon, to 
whom Allah had given the gift of 
wisdom, journeyed from Jerusa- 
lem to Eilat because in a dream 
liad come to him word that the 
idolaters of the south were prepar- 
ing a rebellion. In those days the 
roads were bordered with fruit 
trees of all kinds. Wherever the 
king stopped the people brought 
him grapes and figs and pome- 
granates and honey-sweetened 
\vater to refresh himself. In those 
days the wadi was a wide gently 
flowing stream abounding in fish 
and by its banks was a dense for- 
est where all manner of birds sang 
in the branches. While the king 
was sitting in the sheikhs tent, 
veil as we sit now, he heard one 
bird say to another — for Allah 
had given the king knowledge of 
the language of birds and beasts — 
that an evil man in the pay of the 
idolaters was preparing a snare for 
!iim. The king . . The richly 
L'lnbroidered Oriental fantasy went 
i)!! with Moshe and Drr Bcn-Ari 
listening intently. It ended, 
. and from that day, the king 
ordered that the bird who had 
warned him be no longer called 
Tairsheen but Maliktair and from 
lliat day the river was called the 


River of tlie Kingbirds, alas! now 
no river, but a wadi.” 

The tale excited Moshe. He 
asked, “What does Tairsheen 

The story-teller wiped his lips. 
“No man now knows. Those birds 
flew away long ago, when the for- 
ests were destroyed by the anger of 
Allah against the idolaters.” Trem- 
bling in his agitation. Dr. Ben-Ari 
gave generous gifts to the sheikh 
and to the story-teller. 

Back in the truck, both men 
danced for glee. “This is the spot!” 
they laughed. “Here we shall find 
the worm Shamir!” 

Yussuf was right. The earth- 
worms of his village were fat and 
juicy. Hundreds of them were col- 
lected in a single day, and while 
the Jews went on with the tedious 
task of classifying them, the Arabs 
relaxed in the bosoms of their 

The investigations showed that 
the earthworms were no different 
from those collected near Bcer- 
sheba, except that the mucus they 
secreted was thicker and more 

The mucus from the exterior of 
the earthworms was collected me- 
chanically by tiny rotating brusli- 
es. From one earthworm about 0.2 
milliliters was obtained; at least 
100 milhliters was necessary for 
proper analysis. On the sixth day, 
after thousands of earthworms had 
been brushed and five flasks filled 
with the mucus, the chemical 



analysis was started, with both 
Moshe and Dr. Ben-Ari in high 
hopes that they would discover 
something unusual. 

Alas! Chemical analysis showed 
the same mucopolysaccharides they 
had become familiar with from 
other eartli worms. Crestfallen, tlie 
two men were about ready to give 
up Project Shamir when came the 
lucky accident. 

One flask, sitting too near the 
edge of a shelf, was dislodged by 
the vibration of the centrifuge 
directly under it. It fell, and the 
glutinous foul-smelling mess spat- 
tered over the work table beneath 
the shelf. With a curse, Moshe 
flung down the test-tube he held in 
his hand and said, ‘That does it! 
Tm finished. Doctor. This was a 
hopeless task that we set our- 

Dr. Ben-Ari sighed. “You’re 
right, Moshe. Let’s ^vash up and go 
outside away from this stink. To- 
morrow morning we’ll have the 
men help us clean up in here and 
we’ll leave.” 

That night the sheikh again in- 
vited them to a feast, a farewell 
feast this time, because the labor- 
ers had spread around the sad 
news of the departure. Again the 
two men ate lamb and burghul, 
drank bitter coffee, and listened to 
the songs and music. The story- 
teller, to please them, had a new 
tale about the wisdom of Solomon. 
It was new to him but not to the 
Jews; they had read it in a collec- 

tion of Hebrew demon tales. Their 
gifts were generous, nevertheless. 

At dawn Yussuf and his cousin 
Achmed helped widi the packing 
up of the instruments and the ap- 
paratus. The microtome was wiped 
dry of the slime spilled on it the 
previous day, dismantled, and the 
parts handed to Dr. Ben-Ari, who 
stowed them into a chest. Achmed 
was clumsy. He dropped a blade 
and it fell to the floor and shat- 
tered as though it had been made of 
glass, not finely tempered steel. 
“Don’t worry,” Dr. Ben-Ari reas- 
sured him. “Sometimes a fine crack 
will make — will make — ” He 
stopped short and called Moshe. 
“Look here,” he said, pointing to 
the tiny slivers on the floor of the 
improvised truck-laboratory. 

Moshe heard what had hap- 
pened. Lie ran to the Avork table, 
saw there a screwdriver used to 
tighten the gears on the brushes. 
It, too, had drops of mucus cling- 
ing to it. He held it up and 
twanged it at the end. Tinkle, 
tinkle. Only tlie handle remained 
in his hand. The rest fell like a 
snow of powdered glass to the 

The Arabs were hustled out of 
the truck. Dr. Ben-Ari and Moshe 
picked up every instrument on the 
work table and dropped it on the 
hard plastic surface. Nothing hap- 
pened to those uncontaminated by 
the slime or those made of alumi- 
num or stainless steel or those 
chrome-plated, but plain steel ob- 


jects, like the finger forceps or the 
staples, that the mucus had 
touched, broke into tiny pieces 
with the slightest jar. Moshe 
tapped the base of the colorimeter 
where several screws had lost their 
plating. They fell apart. He caught 
the colorimeter barely in time to 
keep it from falling. 

Of the five original flasks, only 
one was left. Dr. Ben-Ari went 
out to the waiting workmen and 
gave them the good news that they 
would stay another week on condi- 
tion that more thousands of earth- 
worms be collected and that he get 
two men to help in the collection 
of the mucus. The thousands of 
earthworms were readily prom- 
ised but not the two men. The 
Arabs wanted nothing to do with 
such lunacy. At last a compromise 
was reached. Four boys from the 
village were provided; the sheikh, 
stimulated by an additional gift, 
told them to do what the afflicted 
of Allah ordered. They, also af- 
flicted, being feeble-minded, could 
raise no objections. As a matter of 
fact, they enjoyed the process, 
making a game out of running the 
hapless earthworms through the 

In a week twenty-six flasks of 
slime were collected. They were 
carefully packed away and the 
convoy started back to Rehovoth. 

On the way Dr. Ben-Ari con- 
ducted a few experiments. Con- 
trary to legend, rock was not split 
by the mucus; only iron was af- 


fected and those ferruginous rocks 
like red sandstone to a limited ex- 
tent. 'That’s how the stories got 
started,” he said. "Sandstone is 
good for building. You recall how 
many times the Temple was de- 
picted as being all red and gold?” 

A tiny drop, if allowed to stay 
long enough in contact with iron 
or steel, made the metal brittle. It 
was quite easy for the men to con- 
struct a chart showing how much 
and how long a time was needed 
for varying sizes of surfaces of the 
metal. Weight and cubic volume 
meant nothing; the linear equa- 
tion was applicable to areas only. 

They speculated on the value of 
the discovery. It seemed to them 
quite useless, merely an interesting 
confirmation of legend. "Indus- 
trial application is nil,” Dr. Ben- 
Ari said. "Who needs iron as brit- 
tle as glass? Now, if the worm 
Shamir could harden iron, that 
would be a different story.” Moshe 
suggested that they inform their 
benefactor. Sir Albert Stern, of the 
successful outcome of their re- 
search. He was a businessman; he 
would know whether it had any 
commercial value. 

Sir Albert flew from London to 
see a private demonstration of the 
almost magical properties of the 
worm Shamir’s slime. He pursed 
his lips and thought a while before 
commenting. "First, the method of 
collecting this goo is too expensive 
and time-consuming. Second, the 
earthworm population would be 



rapidly depleted. A very thorough 
chemical analysis has to be made 
of the slime and the substance re- 
sponsible for this very unusual 
action must be isolated. If it is not 
too complex, after analysis per- 
haps artificial synthesis will be 
possible. If synthesis is not too in- 
volved, the substance can be made 
in quantity. Then and only then 
can a possible use for it be looked 

A laboratory was set up on the 
outskirts of Sodom, near the great 
chemical complex, and a team of 
chemists set to work on tlie analy- 
sis under the close supervision of 
Moshe and Dr. Ben-Ari. They 
were there to see tliat no iron came 
in contact with the slime. After a 
month of intensive work, the sub- 
stance was isolated and its for- 
mula determined. It was a muco- 
polysaccharide, all right, but one 
that had- a carbon atom weakly 
linked to an organic side chain, 
ammonium tetraethyl sulfomolyb- 
denate. Separately the ammonium 
salt and the polysaccarhide had no 
effect on iron; the conjoined mole- 
cule had the power to change any 
of the four aUotropic forms of iron 
into a fifth amorphous form; how 
this came about was still undeter- 
mined. Dr. Ben-Aris equations 
were checked, their validity con- 
firmed, and a new discovery 
made. The compound, now named 
shamirite, was effective in ex- 
tremely dilute solution and had 
great spreading power. One part 

in a thousand of water sprayed on 
a square metre of an iron surface 
changed the metal into its shatter- 
able form in fifteen minutes. 

Synthesis was easier than had 
been expected. Sir Albert, with the 
blessing of the Israeli government, 
which said it was desirous of in- 
creasing industrialization and de- 
creasing unemployment, set up an 
enormous chemical plant for that 
purpose. Dr. 'Ben-Ari asked him 
why. '‘What possible use can there 
be for shamirite, and when can Mr. 
Gofen and I publish our results?” 

Sir Albert shut one eye and 
peered quizzically at Dr. Ben-Ari. 
“Are you joking? There will be no 
publication. This information is 
strictly classified for security rea- 
sons. Israel and Great Britain have 
already reached agreement on 
that. This is a better weapon than 
the atomic bomb. The bomb makes 
a conquered territory potentially 
uninhabitable besides causing 
great destruction of life and prop- 
erty. Tliis in a water pistol, so to 
speak, renders tanks and guns 
worthless.” He laughed. “Who can 
fight with glass weapons? Who 
will dare attack a country armed 
with shamirite?” 

Dr. Ben-Ari was taken aback. 
He had never conceived of the 
worm Shamir being used for war- 
fare. He conferred with Moshe. 
“I feel like the atomic scientists. 
Out of a theory I have made a 
Frankenstein monster. What are 
we to do?” 


Sir Albert, being astute, felt it 
would be wise to show the two 
men shamirite in action. He ar- 
ranged for them to pay a visit to 
Kfar Dovid, on the Syrian border, 
where troops guarding the settle- 
ment had been equipped with the 
new weapon. They stayed there 
almost a month before a frienc^ 
Arab brought the army units in- 
formation that an attack was im- 

The Israeli troops were ready. 
They had no weapons other than 
truncheons and huge wheeled cer- 
amic tanks with long hoses, look- 
ing like old-fashioned fire engines. 
When the reconnaissance patrols 
returned and said a dozen armed 
jeeps and a force of machine gun- 
ners was on its way, capsules of 
shamirite were dropped into the 
tanks and the^high pressure units 
activated. Dr. Ben-Ari and Moshe 
watched the battle from a roof- 
top. Just at dawn the Syrians came 
into view. They met no resistance 
until they were within range of the 
hoses. Then they were sprayed 
with the shamirite solution. They 
kept advancing but within a mat- 
ter of minutes the jeeps began to 
fall apart as they hit the tiniest 
obstacle in their path; the rifles 
and machine-guns splintered; 
even the steel buttons on the am- 
munition belts disintegrated. The 
attackers were quickly surrounded 
and captured, all but two, who fled 
back across the border. 

Word of the new weapon 


spread rapidly throughout the 
Arab League. The delegate of the 
Soviet Union to the United Na- 
tions accused Israel of using a 
barbarous technique worse than 
the atom bomb or poison gas, but 
he was laughed down when the 
Israeli delegate showed pictures of 
the Arabs being attacked by 
streams of water. The delegate 
from Guatemala, coached by the 
United States ambassador, sar- 
castically remarked that the jeeps 
and the weapons must have been 
held together by spit since they fell 
apart so easily. 

Shamirite was quickly distrib- 
uted to all the Israeli troops at the 
borders. When the next wave of 
the indeterminate war started, it 
ended in a few hours. This time 
newspaper correspondents and TV 
cameramen were at hand to re- 
cord the amazing effectiveness of 
shamirite, the composition of which 
remained a closely guarded secret. 

There were a few drawbacks to 
its use, as General Gabriel Mela- 
med, the Israeli Chief of Staff, 
pointed out. No water cannon 
could reach long range artillery 
and no way had yet been devised 
to use shamirite as a defense 
against aerial attack. No stream of 
water could be projected far 
enough or high enough without a 
fine mist forming that would de- 
scend to earth and ruin the defend- 
ers* equipment. Shamirite could be 
used only for defense, and then 
only at the borders of the country. 



Dr. Ben-Ari smiled grimly when 
he heard through Sir y\lbcrt about 
the general’s critical comments. 
*‘Good!” he said later to Moshe. 
‘Aerial warfare is useless for coiv 
quest. So is long range artillery. 
Both can destroy but no occupying 
army can invade a country 

equipped with shamiritc.” He 
clapped Moshe on the back. 
“Thanks to the Avorm Shamir we 
shall have peace in our time!” 

The following year every nation 
in the world used only chrome- 
plated steel in its armamentarium. 


A busy little UFO, 

Swinging above the Hebrides, 

Eagerly searching all below 
For some long-sought antipodes. 

Some green abode of Calypso, 

Hopes it is in the Cyclades. 

Brown fields begin to haunt the eye 
Of the young, anxious engineer; 

Now the long shore of lonely Skye 
Swims toward his ken. He starts to steer 
Closer to where the mountains lie. 
Smothering his engine and his fear. 

What landscape is this? Greece? The States? 
The earth to no landmark confesses. 

No Cycladean ruins, no gates 
Entwined with girls or lionesses. 

No rocket gantries; no known traits. 

All seems to dismay his careful guesses. 

New York Harbor? Flills of Fort Knox? 
Forbidding crags of Ohio? 

What secret lies bcneatli tliese flocks? 

He ponders them; then turns to go, 

Sailing above the empty rocks, 

A lost and searching UFO. 

— Dorothy Gilbert 


by Isaac Asimov 

Several months ago I attended a preview of the motion picture 
''2001 : A Space Odyssey” here in Boston. Against my better judgment 
I even got into a tuxedo for the occasion. 

Perhaps the tuxedo contributed to an unwitting bit of pomposity 
on my part, for at one point I dissolved into a semi-irrational spasm 
of anger. 

You see, I have included in a number of my stories something I call 
"The Three Laws of Robotics” of which the first is : "A robot may not 
harm a human being or, by inaction, allow a human being to come to 
harm.” The Laws are a purely fictional device, but they have been 
picked up by other writers, who take them for granted in their robot 
stories, and over the years I have come to take them very seriously 

In "2001,” the most dramatic episodes involve an intelligent com- 
puter (equivalent to one of my robots) who deliberately brings about 
the death of several human beings. That this was going to happen 
was made abundandy clear to the audience just before the midpoint 
intermission, and at intermission I went seething up the aisle toward a 
friend of mine I noticed in the audience. 

In tones of deep shock, I said to him, "They're breaking First Law! 
They're breaking First Law!” 

And my friend answered, calmly, "So why don't you strike them 
with lightning, Isaac!” 

Somehow that restored my perspective and I watched the rest of 




the picture with something like calm and was even able to enjoy an 
arousal of curiosity. 

Near the end of the picture when the spaceship was approaching 
Jupiter, several satellites were visible as small globes near the giant 
globe of the planet itself. I started counting the satellites at once, 
trying to figure out whether it was really possible to see them all in the 
sizes indicated from any one point in space. 

Unfortunately, because they kept changing scenes, and because I 
could not remember the necessary data exactly enough or manipulate 
them without trigonometric tables, I could come to no conclusion. 

So let's you and I work it out together now, if we can. 

To begin with, Jupiter has twelve known satellites, of which four 
are giants with diameters in the thousands of miles, and the other 
eight are dwarfs with diameters of a hundred fifty miles or less. 

Naturally, if we want to see a spectacular display, we would want 
to choose an observation post reasonably close to the four giants. If we 
do, then seven of the eight dwarfs are bound to be millions of miles 
away and would be seen as star-like points of light at best. 

Let's ignore the dwarfs tlien. There may be some interest in following 
a star-like object that shifts its position among the other stars, but 
that is not at all comparable to a satellite that shows a visible disc. 

Concentrating on the four giant satellites, we will surely agree that 
we don’t want to take up an observation post from which one or more 
of the satellites will spend much of its time in the direction of Jupiter. 
If that happens, we would be forced to watch it with Jupiter in the 
sky, and I defy anyone to pay much attention to any satellite when 
there is a close-up view of Jupiter in the field of vision. 

For that reason, we would want our observation post in a position 
closer to Jupiter than are the orbits of any of the four giant satellites. 
Then we can watch all four of them with our back to Jupiter. 

We could build a space station designed to circle Jupiter at close 
range and always watch from the side away from Jupiter, but why 
bother? There is a perfect natural station with just the properties we 
need. It is Jupiter's innermost satellite, a dwarf that is closer to the 
planet than any of the giants. 

The four giant satellites of Jupiter were the first satellites to be 
discovered anywhere in the Solar system (except for our own Moon, 
of course). Three of them were discovered on January 7, 1610, by 
Galileo, and he spotted the fourth on January 13. 



Those remained the only four known satellites of Jupiter for nearly 
three hundred years. And then, on September 9, 1892, the American 
astronomer, Edward Emerson Barnard, detected a fifth one, much 
dimmer and therefore smaller, than the giant four, and also consider- 
ably closer to Jupiter. 

The discovery came as somewhat of a shock, for the astronomical 
world had grown very accustomed to thinking of Jupiter as having 
four satellites and no more. The shock was so great, apparently, that 
astronomers could not bear to give the newcomer a proper name of its 
own. They called it ‘'Barnard s Satellite'* after the discoverer, and also 
“Jupiter V” because it was the fifth of Jupiter's satellites to be discov- 
ered. In recent years, however, it has come to be called Amalthea, 
after the nymph (or goat) who served as wet-nurse for the infant 
Zeus (Jupiter).*^ 

Amalthea's exact diameter is uncertain (as is the diameter of every 
satellite in the Solar system but the Moon itself). The usual figure given 
is 100 miles with a question mark after it. I have seen estimates as 
large as 150 miles. For our purposes, fortunately, the exact size 
doesn't matter. 

There is no direct evidence, but it seems reasonable to suppose that 
Amalthea revolves about Jupiter with one face turned eternally toward 
the planet. On half the surface of the satellite, Jupiter's midpoint is 
always visible. When standing on the very edge of that “sub-Jovian" 
side, the center of Jupiter is right on the horizon. The planet (as seen 
from Amalthea) is so huge, however, that one must go a consid- 
erable distance into the other hemisphere before all of Jupiter sinks 
below the horizon. 

From roughly one-quarter of the surface of Amalthea, all of Jupiter 
is eternally below the horizon, and the night-sky can be contemplated 
in peace and quiet. For our purposes, since we want to study the 
satellites of Jupiter, we will take a position (in imagination) at the 
very center of this “contra-Jovian" side of Amalthea. 

One object that will be visible, every so often, in the contra-Jovian 
sky of Amalthea will be the Sun. Amalthea revolves about Jupiter in 
11 hours and 50 minutes. That is its period of rotation, too, with 
respect to the stars and (with a correction too small to worry about) 
to the Sun as well. To an observer on Amalthea, the Sun will appear to 
make a complete circle of the sky in 1 1 hours and 50 minutes. 

^ See ROLLCALL, F & SF, December 1963. 

See CATSKILLS IN THE SKY, F & SF, August 1960, 



Since Amalthea revolves about Jupiter directly (or counterclockwise), 
the Sun will appear to rise in the east and set in the west, and there 
will be 5 hours and 5 5 minutes from sunrise to sunset. 

With this statement, which I introduce only to assure you I am 
not unaware of the existence of the Sun, I will pass on to the matter 
of satellites exclusively for the remainder of the article. The Sun has 
something to do with them, but what that something is, I hope to 
consider next month. 

The four giant satellites, reading outward from Jupiter, are: lo, 
Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Sometimes they are called Jupiter I, 
Jupiter II, Jupiter III, and Jupiter IV respectively or, in abbreviated 
form, J-I, J-II, J-III andJ-IV. 

Actually, for what we want, the abbreviations are very convenient. 
The names are irrelevant after all, and it is difficult to keep in mind 
which is nearer and which is farther if those names are all we go by. 
With the abbreviations, on the other hand, we can concentrate on the 
order of distances of the satellites in a very obvious way, and that's 
what we need to make the data in this article meaningful. 

Using the same system, I can and, on occasion, will, call Amalthea 
J-V. Generally, though, since it is to be our observation point and 
therefore a very special place, I will use its name. 

So let’s start with the basic statistics concerning the four giant 
satellites (see Table 1) with those for Amalthea also included for good 
measure. Of the data in Table 1, the least satisfactory are the values 
for the diameters. For instance, I have seen figures for Callisto as high 
as 3220 and as low as 2900. What I have given you is the rough 
consensus, as far as I can tell from the various sources in my library. 

Table 1 — The Five Inner Jovian Satellites 





Distance front 
Jupiter’s center 





















For comparison, the diameter of our own Moon is 2,160 miles, 



SO that we can say J-I is a little wider than our Moon, J-II a little thinner, 
and J-III and J-IV are considerably wider. 

In terms of volume, the disparity in size between J-III and J-IV, 
on the one hand, and our Moon, on the other, is larger. Each of the 
two largest Jovian satellites is 3.3 times as voluminous as the Moon. 
However, they are apparently less dense than the Moon (perhaps there 
is more ice mixed with the rocks and less metal) so that they are not 
proportionately more massive. 

Nevertheless, J-III is massive enough. It is not only twice as massive 
as the Moon; it is the most massive satellite in the Solar system. For 
the record, here are the figures on mass for the seven giant satellites 
of the Solar system (see Table 2). The table includes not only tlie 
four Jovian giants and our Moon (which we can call E-I), but 
Triton, which is Neptunes inner satellite and therefore N-I, and 
Titan, which I will call S-VI for reasons that will be made clear later. 

Table 2 — Masses of Satellites 



Mass (Moora 






















If we are going to view the satellites, not from Jupiter’s center (the 
point of reference for the figures on distance given in Table 1) but 
from the observation post on the contra-Jovian surface of Amalthea, 
then we have to take some complications into account. 

When any of the satellites, say J-I, is directly above Amalthea’s 
contra-Jovian point, it and Amalthea form a straight line with Jupiter. 
J-Fs distance from Amalthea is then equal to its distance from Jupiter’s 
center minus the distance of Amalthea from Jupiter’s center. This rep- 
resents the minimum distance of J-I from Amalthea. 

As J-I draws away from this overhead position, its distance from 
the observation point increases and is considerably higher when it is 
on the horizon. The distance continues to increase as it sinks below 
the horizon until it reaches a point exactly on the opposite side of 



Jupiter from Amalthea. The entire width of Amalthea s orbit would 
have to be added to the distance between Amalthea and J-I. 

Of course, from our vantage point on Amalthea's surface, we would 
only be able to follow the other satellites to the horizon. We will be 
faced with a minimum distance at zenith and a maximum distance 
at either horizon. Without troubling you with the details, I will present 
those distances in Table 3. 

Table 3 — Distances of the Jovian Satellites from Amalthea 


Distance from Amalthea (^miles') 

at zenith 

at horizon 













This change in distance from zenith to horizon is not something 
peculiar to Jupiter's satellites. It is true whenever the point of observa- 
tion is not at the center of the orbit. The distance of the Moon from 
a given point on the surface of the Earth is greater when the Moon 
is at the horizon than when it is at the zenith. The average distance 
of the center of the Moon from a point on Earth's surface is 234,400 
miles when the Moon is at zenith and 238,400 when it is at the 
horizon. This difiFerence is very small because it is only the 4,000 
mile radius of the Earth that is involved. When the Moon is at the 
horizon, we must look at it across half the thickness of the Earth, 
which we need not do when it is at the zenith. 

From a point on Amalthea's surface, however, we must look across 
a considerable part of the 113,000 radius of its orbit, which makes 
more of a difference. 

In the case of our Moon, we are dealing with an orbit that is 
markedly elliptical so that it can be as close as 221,500 miles at one 
point in its orbit and as far as 252,700 at another point. Fortunately 
for myself and this article, the orbits of the five Jovian satellites we 
are discussing are all almost perfectly circular and ellipticity is a com- 
plication we don't have to face here. 

Given the distance of each satellite from Amalthea, and the diameter 
of each satellite, it is possible to calculate the apparent size of each, 
as seen from our Amalthean viewpoint (see Table 4). 


Table 4 — Apparent Size of Jovian Satellite's as Seen from Amalthca 


Diameter (minntes of arc^ 
at zenith at horizon 













If you want to compare this with something familiar, consider tliat 
the average apparent diameter of tJie Moon is 3 1 minutes of arc. This 
means that J-I, for instance, is just slightly larger than the Moon 
when it rises, bloats out to a circle half again as wdde as the Moon 
when it reaches zenith and shrinks back to its original size when it sets. 

The other three satellites, being farther from Amalthca, do not 
show such large percentage differences in distance from horizon to 
zenith and therefore do not show such differences in apparent size 

Notice that although J-III is considerably farther tlian J-II, it is also 
considerably larger. The two effects counterbalance as seen from 
Amalthca so that J-II and J-III appear indistinguishable in size, at 
least at the horizon. Of course, J-II, being closer, bloats just a little 
more at zenith. As for J-IV, it is smallest in appearance, and shows 
only one-tliird the apparent diameter of our Moon. 

The sky of Amalthca puts on quite a display, then. There are four 
satellites with visible discs, of which one is considerably larger than 
our Moon. 

But never mind size; what about brightness? Here seieral factors 
arc involved. First there is the apparent surface area of each satellite, 
then the amount of light received by it from the Sun, and finally the 
fraction of received Sunlight reflected by it (its albedo). In Table 5, 
I list each of these bits of data for each of tlie satellites, using the 
value for our own Moon as basis for comparison. 

If we consider the figures in Table 5, wt see that J-I as seen from 
Amalthca is remarkable. At zenith it will possess an area up to three 
times that of our Moon. The intensity of Sunhght it receives, howei cr, 
(as do the other Jovian satellites) is only 3/80 that received by the 
Moon. This is not surprising. The Moon, after all, is at an average 
distance of 93,000,000 miles from the Sun as compared to 483,000,- 
000 for the Jovian satellites. 



Table 5 — The Jovian Satellites and our Moon 

Satellite Apparent area (Moon = 1.0) Sunlight Albedo 



(_Moon =z 1.0^ 

CMoon = 





















The Moon has no atmosphere and therefore no clouds — and it is 
atmospheric clouds that contribute most to light reflection. The Moon, 
therefore, showing bare rock, reflects only about 1/14 of the light it 
receives from the Sun, absorbing the rest. 

The Moon's mark is bettered by J-I, J-II, and J-III. In fact, J-II 
reflects about 2/5 of the light it receives, which is every bit as good 
as the Earth can manage. This doesn't necessarily mean that these 
three satellites have an atmosphere and clouds like the Earth. It seems 
more hkely that there are drifts of water-ice and ammonia-ice (or 
both) on the surfaces of the satellites, and that these drifts do tihe 

Callisto, for some reason, reflects only 1/30 of the light it receives 
and is therefore less than half as reflective as the Moon. Perhaps 
Callisto is composed of particularly dark rock. — Or is it conceivable 
that astronomers have badly overestimated Calhsto's diameter? (If it 
were smaller than astronomers think it is, it would have to reflect more 
light to account for its brightness.) 

Anyway, we can now calculate the apparent brightness of each 
satelhte (as compared with our Moon) by multiplying the area by 
the amount of Sunlight received by the albedo. The results are given in 
Table 6. 

Table 6 — Apparent Brightness of the Jovian Satellites 


Apparent brigjitness CMoon = 1.0") 

















As you sec, not one of the Jovian satellites, as seen from Anialthea, 
can compare in apparent brightness witli our Moon as seen from the 
Earth s surface. Even J-I, the closest to Amalthea and therefore the 
brightest, is never better than half as bright as the Moon; J-ll is less 
than a seventh as bright; J-III less than a twentieth; and J-IV less than 
a six-hundredth. 

And yet who says brightness is everything? Our own Moon is only 
1/465,000 as bright as the Sun, and if we consider beauty alone, it 
is all the better for that. 

Perhaps the Jovian satellites as seen from Amalthea will be still 
more beautiful than our Moon, for being so softly-illuminated. It will 
result, perhaps, in better contrast, so that craters and maria will be 
more clearly visible. If the satellites are partly ice-covered, patches of 
comparative brilliance will stand out against the darkness of bare 
rock. It will be all the more startling because on Amalthea there will 
be no air to soften or blur the sharpness of the view. 

Callisto may be most beautiful of all, though it may require a field- 
glass to see it at its best. It would be a darkling satellite, with its 
mysteriously low albedo. Perhaps it might look rather like a lump of 
coal, with its very occasional patches of highly-reflecting ice so inter- 
spersed by very dark rock that it would seem a cluster of diamonds in 
the sky, rather than a solid circle of light. 

There are only two planets, other than Jupiter, that have real 
families of satellites, as opposed to merely one or two. These are 
Uranus with five and Saturn with ten. Uranus is a special problem to 
which I will eventually devote a special article, but let s tackle Saturn 
according to the system we have already used for Jupiter. 

Although Saturn has only ten satellites to Jupiter’s twelve, and 
only one giant as compared to Jupiter’s four, it still puts on a better 
show in a way. Whereas no less than seven of Jupiter’s twelve are 
so small and distant they can be ignored, only three of Saturn’s need 
be neglected. From Saturn’s innermost satellite, six other satellites can 
be seen as visible discs. 

Let’s start by giving the basic statistics for the Saturnian satellites 
(see Table 7). 

The Roman numerals are not as well estabhshed for Saturn as for 
Jupiter but I have seen them used from I through IX for the satellites 
from Mimas through Phoebe. Janus was discovered at the very end 
of 1967’^ but I won’t reorganize the numbering system because of 
^ See LITTLE FOUND SATELLITE, F & SF, October 1968, 



Table 7 — The Saturnian Satellites 





Distance from Satti 
center Chiles') 









































that. Just as Jupiter’s closest satellite is J-V, so I will let Saturn’s 
closest satellite be S-X (even though it looks like a prudish way of 
writing ‘"sex”). Besides, if we place our observation point on Janus 
(or S-X), it will be convenient to number the satellites in its sky as 
S-I, S-II and so on. 

If we Assume that Janus presents one face, always, to Saturn and 
take up our position at the contra-Saturnian position, we will never 
see Saturn and its rings, and we will be able to concentrate on the 

We can work out the zenith and horizon distances of each satellite 
from Janus, as we did in connection with the Jovian system and from 
that determine the apparent sizes of the Saturnian satellites (see 
Table 8.) 

Table 8 — Apparent Size of Saturnian Satellites as Seen from Janus 

Satellite Diameter (^minutes of arc') 





















As you see, the situation on Janus is most amazing. The outermost 



three satellites are only star-like points and are therefore omitted from 
the table. The other six satellites, which are included, are so closely 
spaced and increase in size so steadily as one goes outward that all 
appear, on the horizon, to be very much the same size. All have an 
apparent diameter about half that of our own Moon (S-I and S-III are 
a little larger, S-1 1 and S-V are a little smaller, while S-IV and S-VI are 
just right). 

This picture of sextuplct-satellites is quite unique. Nothing like it 
can be seen from any other point in the Solar system; not even from 
any other point in the Saturnian system. 

Each of the six satellites bloats as it approaches the zenith, the 
effect being more extreme the closer the satellite. S-I expands from a 
diameter half that of the Moon at the horizon to twice that of the 
Moon at zenith. Its area (and therefore its brightness at any given 
phase) increases thirteen-fold, as it travels from horizon to zenith. 

And the brightness of the Saturnian satellites? Here there is a dif- 
ficulty that was not present in the case of the Jovian satellites, for 
there are no figures that I can find on the albedoes of the Saturnian 
satellites. However S-I and S-II are thought to be largely snow, and 
S-VI is known to have an atmosphere (the only satellite in the Solar 
system known to have one). 

We won't be too far out then if we decide to make the general 
albedo" of the Saturnian satellites 0.5, or seven times that of the Moon. 
Working with that assumption and realizing that the Sun delivers only 
0.011 times as much light to the Saturnian satellites as to our own 
Moon, we can calculate the apparent brightnesses of the Saturnian 
satellites as seen from Janus (see Table 9). 

Table 9 — Apparent Brightness of the Saturnian Satellites 


Brightness (^Moon 

= 1.0) 



















Here we have a picture of a soft and delicate family of dim satellites, 



about as bright as Callisto (the dimmest of Jupiter s four giant satel- 
lites), as seen from Amalthea. All are only 1/500 to 1/200 as bright 
as the Moon. Only one of the Saturnians, S-I, manages to shoot up to 
the unusual mark of 1/90 as bright as the Moon. 

Does this give us all we need to know about the satellites of Jupiter 
and Saturn? Heavens, no! 

So far I have painted only a static picture and left the most fas- 
cinating aspects of the situation untouched. Those four satellites of 
Jupiter as seen from Amalthea, and those six satellites of Saturn as 
seen from Janus are moving relative to each other. Each moves at its 
own characteristic rate and the group forms an ever-changing pattern. 

What’s more, the Sun moves across the sky, too (something I men- 
tioned briefly near the beginning of the article), and that introduces 
interesting complications, such as phases changes and eclipses. 

I am going to try to work out the motion picture of the Joyian satel- 
lites. Right now. I’m a little appalled at the prospect and I’m not sure 
I can be very successful. But wish me luck, and if I manage, I will 
present it next month. 


If you’re now attending high school or college we’ll be happy 
to enter your subscription to The Magazine of FANTASY 
AND SCIENCE FICTION at the special rate of 8 issues for 

Just send us $3.00 with a note indicating which school you 
attend and your present status (soph? senior?). 

This offer is good through December 15, 1968. Remittance 
must accompany all orders. 

New York, N.Y. 10022 

Among the favorite words begat by the “new politics'— whatever 
that is— is the term “polarization,"" which generally refers to the op- 
posite direction being taken by the increasing forces of the extreme 
left and right. This story extrapolates that notion into a red-white- 
and-black comedy that takes place some time after the country has 
fallen apait. The piece that is picked up here is called the Republic 
of Southern California, which in turn has polarized into— moving 
from left pole to right— a guerrilla operation headed by Jane Kendry 
and a militant right wing group led by a behind-the-scenes operative 
known only as . 


by Ron Goulart 

The mad girl flashed angrily 
across the bright tower room 
and interfered with the view of 
the riot. Two plain-clothes thera- 
pists dived into the big circular 
room on her trail, apologetic, and 
hunkered so as to leave the tinted 
windows clear for watching. The 
girl, thin and fair, shrugged out 
of the reach of the lead therapist 
and ran straight at Sgt. James 
Xavier Hecker. He was already up 
out of his vinyl wing chair, reach- 
ing one calming hand to her. 
“Just be easy now,'’ he said. 

In the chair next to his, Thcr- 
apist-in-Chief Weeman said, 
“Halt, Mrs. Gibbons.” He 
stretched over and slapped the 
slim girl with his clip-on stunrod. 
She stiffened just short of touch- 
ing Hecker. 

“Why that?” asked Hecker, 
steadying the girl’s now paralyzed 

“We strive to give our more 
hopeful patients a semblance of 
autonomy and free motion,” said 
Weeman. He breast-pocketed the 
stunrod in his lime-green tunic. 
“Incidents can’t be encouraged, 
but on the other side of the token, 
neither should they be subdued 
with too drastic means.” 

The two therapists hesitated, 
hands extending, unobtrusively, 
for the caught patient. Hecker 
said, “It’ll take her two hours to 
come out of that.” He let the two 
wide men carry the girl away and 
out of the top tower of the Rehab 

Weeman tugged at his blond 
beard, as though he suddenly 




suspected it was false. “I find your 
concern for a disturbed suburban 
housewife, a girl you don't even 
know, to be almost fascinating.” 

**Why don't you turn over those 
Kendry files, and I'll take oflF.” 
Hecker was a lean man, tall and 
slightly bent, with a bony face 
and too big hands. The Social 
Wing of the Police Corps had al- 
lowed him to grow a shaggy mous- 
tache, but would probably not 
promote him much beyond ser- 

Therapist-in-Chief Weeman's 
small tidy lap was filled with 
carded microfilm. He let some of 
the fingers of his left hand dance 
on the film and nodded at the 
view windows. '1 wish you shared 
my fascination with these riots, 
though your reasons for not doing 
so are best known to yourself. 
That one occurring down there in 
Citrus Knolls right now seems 
rich in fascination. I've moni- 
tored all the recent suburban riots 
in the area, but this is the first 
one to take place in, as you might 
say, my own back yard.” 

Far below and across an arti- 
ficial river a troop of cub scouts 
had just put torches to the com- 
munity recreation center, and to 
the immediate left of that a mob 
of greying matrons were lobbing 
plastic bombs into the main build- 
ing of the tennis club. The ma- 
jority of the members of the 
Veterans of the Chinese Invasion 
were chucking surplus grenades 

into patios and rock gardens all 
along Citrus Knolls' wide and 
neatly pastoral streets and lanes. 
Over two thousand of the resi- 
dents of the planned suburb, a 
good third of its population, were 
involved in the rioting and loot- 
ing. ‘'Here come the troops,” said 
Hecker, turning his back on the 

Weeman toggled a switch on 
his chair arm and television 
screens on the blind wall of the 
Rehabilitation Center tower 
snapped alive. “I want a better 
look at all this. These initial con- 
frontations between* the ^^^ed 
citizens and the army of the Re- 
public of Southern California are 
little less than fascinating.” 

Hecker glanced up at the im- 
ages of the lime- and lemon-uni- 
formed soldiers of the Republic 
of Southern California marching 
with locked arms down the main 
esplanade of Citrus Knolls. “The 
Kendry files,” he repeated. 

“What do you, as a representa- 
tive of the Social Wing — a divi- 
sion of our Southern Californian 
government I can't help believing 
is more liberal than necessary — 
think causes these outbreaks in 
our best suburbs, sergeant?” Wee- 
man twisted new curls into his 
full beard, ticked his head for- 
ward. The army was apparently 
using stun gas, and the screens 
showed people slowing and freez- 
ing, still clutching torches and 
bombs and bright new rifles. 


“The riots arc the Junta's busi- 
ness," said Hecker. “They govern 
the Republic of Southern Cali- 

“You seem reluctant to express 
an opinion that is solidly yours, 
Sgt. Hecker." 

“I just work here." 

“Look at that," said Weeman. 
“That little old lady sniped one 
of the cameramen off the roof of 
the United Methodist." He stud- 
ied then the microfilm between 
his legs and watched Hecker for 
several long seconds. “Some peo- 
ple, a small but vocal minority, 
consider the cause of the riots to 
be the recent tightening of law 
enforcement and the additional 
troops being garrisoned in some of 
our larger secured towns and cit- 
ies. What do you, Sgt. Hecker, 
feel about the notion that the 
Junta has ruled the Republic with 
undue strictness in recent years?" 

“Since my branch of the Police 
Corps is under the jurisdiction of 
the Junta, you don’t have to ask," 
Hecker told him. He paced away 
from the seated therapist, watch- 
ing, briefly, the smoke columns 
fuse into a thick black smear in 
the bright afternoon sky. 

“Younger people," said Wee- 
man, “forget how things were back 
in 1981 and those years. Before 
the Chinese commandos were de- 
feated in the battle of Glendale 
there were many, not deluded but 
calm and rational people, who 
felt Red China would successfully 


carry off its land invasion of 
Southern California." 

“If Southern California hadn’t 
seceded from the Union in 1980, 
things wouldn’t have happened as 
they did." 

“The president of the United 
States, even though his country 
was falling apart, should have 
supported us," said Weeman. 
“Had the Junta not been formed, 
merging our best Southern Cali- 
fornian military and industrial 
brain-power into one dedicated 
and loyal ruling think-tank, there 
would have been black days for 
the Republic. You, a man in his 
middle or late twenties, don’t re- 
member those bad times." 

“Probably not," said Hecker. 
He returned and sat next to the 
Therapist-in-Chief. “I have a con- 
tact point to be at by tonight.” 

“This has been, thanks to 
younger residents of the Republic 
such as yourself, Sgt. Hecker, val- 
idly christened the age of anxi- 
ety." Weeman twined his stubby 
lingers in the swatch of beard be- 
neath his chin. “Myself, Sgt. 
Hecker, I favor the conspiracy 
theory to explain the riots. These 
most recent suburban riots, there’s 
a strange and fascinating quality 
to them." He freed his fingers 
from his facial hair and indicated 
the burning and fighting below. 
“Social repressions, supposed in- 
justices and unlawful restraints, 
don’t evoke the kind of mania 
we’re witnessing at this moment. 



Sgt. Hecker. A thoughtful exami- 
nation of the sweeping panorama 
of riot history tells us that citizens 
in comfortable $100,000 homes 
in landscaped and secured areas 
should not loot and burn. They re 
not blacks, are they, most of 
them?" He bundled the microfilm 
cards and tossed them across to 
Hecker. *The classic riots in the 
United States — and in Southern 
California, especially because of 
our near tropic climate — have 
traditionally been the work of 
militant black men, Sgt. Hecker. 
Though you may not be aware, 
at this remote place in time, of 

‘We studied the riots in 
school," said Hecker. He thumbed 
through the cards, holding them 
up next to the overhead lights in 
turn. “Most of this information on 
the Kendry family we have in our 
Social Wing files. I thought you 
had some extra stuff that couldn't 
be trusted to transmission." 

Weeman drew a last card from 
beneath his narrow thigh. “Some 
background material on Jane Ken- 
dry. Tests and projections done 
during the brief period when she 
was a ward of the rehab system. 
What exactly is your mission for 
SW, sergeant?" 

Hecker took the new card in 
one big-knuckled hand, walked to 
a wall microfilm reader and in- 
serted the card. “You were told 
that when the Social Wing re- 
quested this interiew." 

“That story wasn’t a cover? 
Somebody in the Kendry clan has 
sent the Social Wing word that 
they have information on the 
cause of the riots?" 

“The nature of the information 
sent and the procedures suggested 
indicate the Kendry family may 
be involved," Hecker said. The 
young face of a lean, intense girl 
rolled into view on the screen of 
the reader. She had smooth tan 
skin, hair of a red-gold color, long. 
“Jane Kendry," muttered Hecker 
to himself. 

“Seven years ago," said Wee- 
man. “She was fifteen then, colt- 
ish. Her wild father and a bunch 
of the clan broke her out of a 
minimum security Rehab Center 
down near the Laguna Sector. 
Lovely marine view there. She's a 
quirky girl, and I believe that it 
is Jane Kendry who runs that 
band of ragged guerrillas. Her fa- 
ther, old Jess, is in his middle 
sixties now, ridden with addic- 
tions and badly healed wounds. 
She's a tough girl, Sgt. Hecker, 
and you won't find that hopeful 
look the picture there shows. Not 
anymore with Jane Kendry. Is she 
your contact?" 

“I don't know," said Hecker. 
“Our information isn't that spe- 
cific. We have a contact point 
fairly close to one of the unse- 
cured towns the Kendrys are 
thought to operate in. There's a 
safe conduct pass of sorts. I came 
here to fill myself in on them." 


Thcrapist-in-Chief Weeman 
rose up behind Hecker. '‘You look 
quite unlike a policeman, even a 
Social Wing one, in your civilian 
clothes/’ He flicked a sequence 
of toggles and tlie view windows 
blanked, the monitor screens died. 
“Listen to me now, Sgt. Hecker. 
I worked on the Kendry girl’s case, 
down there in Laguna Sector sev- 
en years ago. I liked her and felt 
I was reaching her. We could 
work together on her problems 
and conflicts. Then those wild 
men came in and smashed things 
and wrenched her away.” 

Hecker stopped reading the 
micro file. “So?” 

“I have autliority to bring her 
in for rehabilitation,” Weeman 
said, moving closer to the Social 
Wing sergeant. “If she wishes, we 
can help her. Fit her back into 
the legitimate social processes of 
the Republic of Southern Cali- 
fornia. She’s a girl with fasci- 
nating potential.” 

“She may not want back in,” 
said Hecker. “Her exile is probably 

“We often think that, sergeant, 
and w^e are often wrong,” said the 
therapist. “If you see Jane Ken- 
dry, offer. Tell her Therapist-in- 
Chief — no, she knew me as Asso- 
ciate Therapist — tell her Dr. Wee- 
man can get her safe conduct here 
to the Pasadena Rehab Center. It 
could be her only chance.” 

Hecker frowned. “Wait now, 
Whv her only chance?” 


“You may, Sgt. Hecker, have 
some competition in your quest 
for Jane Kendry.” 

“And I may not even see her,” 
he said. “But who’s searching for 

“Arc you familiar with 2nd Lt. 

“Norman Same?” asked Heck- 
er. “He’s with the Manipulation 
Council. Why do they want Jane 

“Why does Manipulation usu- 
ally want people?” said the Ther- 
apist. “The Junta must want her 
locked away or, forgive the dark 
thought, simply killed. The guer- 
rillas have been trouble, and 2nd 
Lt. Same, who has been here, too, 
seeking background material, be- 
lieves Jane Kendry leads the guer- 

“Maybe there’s been a leak in 
the Social Wing, if Same has been 
here already.” Hecker clicked his 
bony thumb against his teeth. 
“We’ll see then.” 

“You get to her and tell her to 
be careful,” said Weeman. “Once 
she’s here in Rehab, I can guaran- 
tee they won’t touch her. Believe 
me, Sgt. Hecker, when I tell you 
that I really can help Jane Ken- 

“I’ll tell her,” said Hecker. 
“Now I’ll retrieve my hopper from 
your roof port and get going.” 

On the highest roof of the five- 
towered Rehab Center, Hecker 
could see Citrus Knolls burning 
away, blackening the day. His 



unmarked Social Wing hopper 
was not in the reserved slot of the 
rooftop landing area. Two orange- 
uniformed soldiers of the RSC 
army were squatting where the 
small heliplane had been. 

"Looking for your machine?^^ 
asked one of the soldiers, bounc- 
ing inquisitively and making his 
buttocks smack the topping 

'Tes, indeed,” said Hecker. He, 
being in civilian clothes, had his 
blaster pistol cupped under his 
arm and not quickly accessible. 
‘"You boys take it?” 

"Sorry, sarge,” said the other 
soldier. They were both young 
privates. *We needed extra wings 
and the order went out. Your So- 
cial Wing reported an unmarked 
hopper parked here, signed out to 
a Sergeant James Xavier Hecker, 
and it was picked up. They got 
your hopper over to Citrus Knolls, 
using it to dust nerve powder on 
the folks trying to dismantle the 
shopping plaza.” 

Hecker surveyed the, roof. 
There was a pitted old surplus 
hopper, with the ARSC insignia 
still vaguely visible on its side, 
parked nearby. "Who does that 
one belong to?” 

"That’s for you if you want to 
use it,” said the bouncing private. 
"Corporal Bozes said you could 
use it. That’s why we hung 
around, to be helpful. That clunk 
isn’t much for altitude, and there’s 
not enough armour on its belly. 

Those humping snipers can set 
your tail on fire easy enough as 
it is, without flying over in a 
thing like that.” 

"I hope it’ll do for me,” said 
Hecker. "I have an appointment.” 

"It’ll be plenty good for Social 
Wing purposes,” said the private, 
and he bounced again. 

In five minutes Hecker was in 
tlie air. He had to be in San 
Emanuel Sector, a beach town 
beyond the Laguna Sector, by 
nightfall. The town was not one 
the military rated as secured, and 
he could expect no help from any 
officials of the RSC once he got 
there. The old army hopper, 
which he’d have to ditch before he 
got in sight of San Emanuel, 
chugged through the sky. It 
strained for altitude, whining, for 
nearly a half hour. Then it began 
to make rumpling pocking sounds 
and dropped from the sky toward 
a stretch of scrubby beach. Heck- 
er’s safety straps snapped as he 
tried to right the ship. When the 
crash came, he was slammed hard 
into the control panel. 

The hopper was moving away 
from him in pieces, like a jigsaw 
puzzle dissolving. There were 
weathered gritty hands all around 
him and raw smells of the sea 
and strong spices. Grey clothes 
and close-cropped hair. Hecker 
caught at himself and sat back. 
Hands were sliding through his 
clothes, and one snapped out his 



packet of identification material, 
while another hand got his pistoL 
Since he’d passed into the Rehab 
Center on retinal and voice prints, 
the packet contained only the 
faked papers he was to use on his 
trip into the unsecured towns. 
Plus the dog-cared business card 
with the drawing of a gull on it, 
the one which had come into 
Social Wing headquarters with 
the message from the possible 
Kcndry contact. 

Hands had found the card and 
someone said, '‘Kendry pass. 
Leave him safe and alive.'* 

Hecker’s pistol w^as returned, 
tucked back into its pouch and 
patted. ^‘Scavengers," he said, see- 
ing a little better. “Beach people." 
The old army hopper was disman- 
tled completely, and its pilot seat, 
still holding Hecker, was tipped 
in a clump of beach scrub. The 
sky had tinned and the wind 
grown warm. It was late in the 
afternoon now, and when Hecker 
touched at his head, he found a 
swelling spreading across the left 
side of his face, a smear of dry 
blood in its center. 

The man with his hands still 
on Hecker wms old, sixty-five or 
more, and dry with age and sun, 
“Want to talk, you can talk. 
Want to cat, you can cat. Want to 
hide, you can hide. Lm Rius." He 
seemed to have too many ribs. 
They lined his thin body in 
places where there shouldn't be 
ribs. “The militarv won't venture 

into this stretch. You find your- 
self in the Manhattan Beach Sec- 
tor, south of Venice." 

“IVe got to,” said Hecker, let- 
ting Rius help him to stand, “get 
to San Emanuel by tonight.” 

“He does know the Kendrys,” 
said a tall blonde girl. She was 
wearing a pair of thin grey shorts 
and mismatched souvenir mocca- 

“We’re free and easy here,” 
Rius told him. He had a plastic 
bag of green chili peppers in the 
pocket of his shorts. “He doesn’t 
have to talk. Or share.” 

“I seem already to have shared 
my hopper with you,” said Hecker. 
He found he could walk and took 
himself clear of the grasp of the 
old man. 

“Rights of salvage," said Rius. 
“An ancient law of the sea." He 
bit a pepper in half and pointed 
witli the uneaten portion at the 
Pacific Ocean. 

The glare of the sun on the 
water made Hecker turn away. 
Along the beach wTre scattered 
fifty people, most of them dressed 
as simply as Rius and the blonde. 
Hecker stretched out a long lanky 
arm and took his identification 
folder from Rius, along with the 
Kendry card. “Much obliged." 

“Would you,” asked the blonde, 
“like to talk about your problems? 
Are you thinking of quitting the 
formal culture up there in the Re- 

“He’s free to talk or not to 



talk/’ reminded Riiis, starting an- 
other chili pepper. 'That s the way 
we are here.” 

“If you’d like to talk about 
what business you have with the 
Kendrys,” said the tall blonde, 
who had small breasts, “you can 
do that, too.” 

A plump, pale man with his 
hair recently cropped padded over 
the sand and squinted at Hecker. 
“They didn’t mention you till 
now. Tm Dr. Jay V. Leavitt. 
What happened? Oh, no, that's 
right . . , you don’t have to tell 
me. That’s how it is here.” 

“My hopper crashed and then 
you guys dismantled it for scrap,” 
said Hecker. “I’ll talk freely about 
that. My head hit the instrument 
panel in the crash because the 
safety belts snapped.” 

“I bet nobody even asked you 
how you came by that old army 
hopper,” said the doctor. 

“I borrowed it.” 

The doctor smiled and 
shrugged. “My wife lets me spend 
a month down here each spring. 
May I feel your head?” 


live in a condominium in 
the Pacific Palisades sector. It’s 
our second condominium. The 
first one we owned fell into the 
ocean. But I don’t have to worry 
about things like that here.” He 
poked his sandy fingers at Heck- 
er ’s swollen head. “I’m not even 
sterile. I hope it won’t cause an 

“Don’t worry yourself.” 

“No brain damage, I guess.” 
The doctor thumbed down Heck- 
er ’s lower eyelids. Then rapped 
his head. “And no sign of a frac- 
ture. I bet you don’t even have 
much of a concussion. You could 
rest up here on the beach a couple 
of days if you like, though I’m not 
prescribing. The nights get cold 
here, but we build fires.” 

“I’m enroute to San Emanuel,” 
said Hecker. 

“You should talk to Marsloff 
and Percher,” Dr. Leavitt told 
him. He screwed his forefinger 
around the pocket of his new 
grey shorts. “I had some bandaids 
in here. No, all used up.” 

“Who are Marsloff and Perch- 

“Drive one of the land trucks,” 
said the blonde girl. “They’re go- 
ing to try to get down to the San 
Diego Sector tonight with a load 
of salvage. Dr. Leavitt is probably 
suggesting you could catch a ride 
as far as San Emanuel with 
them. If he doesn’t mind my 
speaking for him.” 

“Not at all,” replied the doctor. 
“You’re a very bright girl. Were 
you possibly a receptionist or 
dental hygiene nurse up in the Re- 

“Only a housewife,” said the 
blonde. “I could never have any 
satisfactory conversations with my 
husband. He’s in riot-control re- 
search and used to bring new 
equipment home to try out.” To 


Hecker she said, '‘You have to be 
a little careful of Percher. He*s 
a gadget freak/’ 

“Oh,” said Hecker. He’d worked 
with gadget cases in the Social 

“A gadget freak is a person,” 
explained Dr. Leaitt, “who uses 
machines and appliances in un- 
natural ways to produce electric 
brain stimulation and other poten- 
tially dangerous, though momen- 
tarily pleasurable, effects. Unli- 
censed electric brain stimulation 
was outlawed well over two years 
ago by the Junta.” 

“Where’s his partner, this 
Marsloff?” asked Hecker. 

“They’re the both of them off 
down there.” The blonde indicat- 
ed the location with a turn of her 
head. “See the old fallen-down 
beach restaurant that says Poor 
Boy on its side? Their truck is 
hidden in there. Marsloff is the 
big and dark-haired man leaning 
on the rail. Percher ’s a little blond 
fellow. He’s in the truck prob- 

“He rewired an electric mixer 
to stimulate himself with last 
night,” said the doctor sadly. “A 
bright young man, otherwise, 
when he’s not comatose.” 

“You should have been here 
when he got inside a rebuilt 
soft-drink machine,” said the 
blonde. “Want me to walk over 
with you?” 

“Sure,” said Hecker. 

She started down the sand and 


he moved in beside her. “Been out 
here long?” he asked. 

“A year, I guess. My name’s 
Hildy. You don’t have to tell me 
yours. We don’t care here.” 

“James Xavier Hecker.” His 
faked papers had used his real 

“I read your ID packet. Jim do 
they call you?” 

“Hecker, usually,” said Hecker. 

“Hey, Marsloff. Rius says it’s 
okay if you help this guy.” She 
stopped a few yards from the big 
man. “He knows the Kendrys. He 
wants a lift south.” 

Marsloff strode over. He had 
grey-black hair, short on his head 
and long and swirling on most of 
his body. “Can you drive a 


“My partner, Percher, is a 
gadget freak. He found half 
a dozen old-fashioned electric 
toothbrushes this morning, and 
he’s knocked himself blooey again 
in the cab of our truck. Has his 
own portable generator back in 
what used to be the pantry of the 
cafe. He’s in a coma right now.” 

“Shouldn’t you get Leavitt to 
look at him?” 

“This isn’t the Republic,” said 
Marsloff. “He always comes out of 
it. He doesn’t favor anybody tin- 
kering with him when he’s having 
one of his comas. I’ll leave him 
here in the shack, under a quilt, 
for this haul. You watch him a 
little, Hildy?” 



‘'If you like.” 

Marsloff watched the westering 
sun. “Well leave in half hour. 
How far south?” 

“San Emanuel,” said Hecker. 
The sunlight wasn’t bothering 
him as much now. 

“You do know the Kendrys 
then,” said Marsloff. He grinned. 
“Percher smuggled in some beer 
from the Tijuana Enclave, real 
Mexican beer. It’s w^arm because 
he’s been using the ice machine 
on himself. Wait here and I’ll get 
us a couple bottles. We can cool 
them oft in the ocean.” He patted 
Hecker and the girl on their backs 
and climbed over fallen wood and 
plaster into the remnants of the 
seashore cafe. 

The hanging sign that caught 
the night wind said Giacomo of 
San Emanuel on it. The sign 
flapped over the doorway of a 
building that was gone. There 
were only the traces of a collapsed 
wharf out this close to the ocean 
now, fragments of restaurants and 
shops. It was his contact point, 
and Hecker stood there on a firm 
section of wharf, hearing nothing 
except the dark water moving 
across the cluttered sand below 
the pilings. There were mounds 
of seashclls dotting this section of 
San Emanuel beach, twists of 
dead seaweed. The wind carried 
what looked like a tatter of red- 
checkered tablecloth up above 
Hecker’s head, and the cloth 

fought and twisted, fluttering free 
and fading into the darkness 
among the fallen timbers and 
planking. He thought of the girl 
who had tried to reach him in 
the rehabilitation tower. 

“See the card. Let’s see the 
card,” said a boy’s voice. 

Hecker carefully turned. 
“What card?” 

The boy was too small for his 
age. He seemed to be about fif- 
teen and was barely five feet tall. 
His legs were thin and subtly 
twisted, and his arms were thin, 
too, and bent in wrong ways. He 
was holding a big shaggy cat in 
his arms, close to his bare chest. 
“Tm a younger brother,” he told 
Hecker. “An adopted brother, ac- 
tually. I’m a Kendry, though.” 
The cat was limp but awake. It 
lolled comfortably, watching 
Hecker with its round yellow- 
green eyes. 

“Tell me the cat’s name,” said 

“Burrwick,” the boy said, “if 
you have to have the countersign 
crap. Now let’s see the card. 
Fetch it out slowly, or you’ll feel 
some steel in your fat ribs.” 

“I look fat to you?” Hecker 
drew out the ID packet, located 
the card with the gull drawn on 
it in pale blue writing fluid. 

The boy took the card, held it 
near his face. “Everybody seems 
fat. I hid from the soldiers too 
long, missed out on too many 
meals. They call that nutrition. 



you know, all that business with 
vitamins and minerals. I read up 
on it all but haven’t been able to 
change myself much so far.” 

'*Don’t be discouraged,” said 
Hecker. '‘Can you tell me who 
sent you to meet me?” 

"Not allowed to,” said tlie boy. 
The cat mewed once, tapped on 
his narrow chest. "I’m to guide 
you to a conclave. A family gath- 
ering, a Kendry thing. Hundreds 
of us to be there. You’re to palm 
yourself off as a cousin by mar- 
riage of old Mace Kendry. Use 
your real name, or whatever name 
you’re traveling under. You mar- 
ried Mace’s second-oldest daugh- 
ter, Reesie. They were both rid- 
den down by the army, are dead 
now. You been in a solitary cell 
down in San Pedro Sector since 
shortly after you got married two 
years ago. You got let out on the 
Junta’s last birthday amnesty a 
week ago. Mace gave you this 
card — here take it back — and you 
heard about this gathering tonight 
in a bar in Venice Sector named 
Uncle Avram’s. Can you remem- 
ber well all this crap?” 

"Most of it.” 

"Better get it all straight. Mace, 
in case somebody asks, had his 
left arm missing from just below 
the elbow due to a Police Corps 
blaster. Reesie was a tall girl, big 
boned with bad front teeth. Okay 
looking, but too meaty.” The boy 
rubbed the cat’s stomach. "With 
at least a coupled hundred Ken- 

drys together, there’s likely to be 
someone’ll want to kill you for the 
sport. If you give them the added 
inspiration of lying and stum- 
bling in your yarn, you’ll surely 
feel steel from several directions.'' 

"Thanks,” said Hecker. "I won’t 
slip. What’s your name?” 

"It isn’t part of the password 
crap.” The boy beckoned Hecker 
to follow him. 

Walking away from the fallen 
wharf, Hecker said, "I wanted to 
know, just for myself.” 

"Jack,” said the boy. 


"Know where I got that 

"No.” They turned onto a street 
that wound between still-stand- 
ing, but long vacant, shops and 
hotels. The municipal trees had 
grown wild and there was a thick 
tangle of branches and leaves 

"Off that sign back there. Gi- 
acomo. That’s Jack, more or less, 
in Italian. I like it down there, 
down by the water. Especially at 
night. Have you ever heard of 
people like that?” 

"Sure, Jack. Many.” 

"Kendrys don’t figure so.” 

"But you do,” said Hecker. 
"Can you tell me, by the way, 
who’s going to contact me at this 
family gathering?” 

"Not that either. It will hap- 
pen, don’t fret.” They walked two 
blocks higher, and then the cat 
yowled, its hair stood up and its 

CAl)(;tT MAN 


tail went thick and erect. ''Getting 

Tlie cat yowled again, twisted 
and jumped to Jacks shoulders 
and then off into the night. "He 
doesn’t much like Kendrys?" re- 
marked Hecker. 

"rhey’re good people, but not 
much given to gentleness." The 
thin boy pointed at a rusted hurri- 
cane fence across the street. They 
were at the rear of a defunct pub- 
lic school complex, and the school 
gymnasium was bright with light 
and noise. "Gates fallen in. Go 
on through and down to the gym. 
Tell your story. Luck to you. Tm 
no party-goer." 

"Okay. Thanks, Jack." 

“You have a name?" 

"James Xavier Hecker." 

"Xavier part is good. I might 
assimilate that sometime. Good- 
bye." He drifted back and away 
into the dark beneath the trees, 
and Hecker headed for the loud, 
shining gymnasium. 

A big Avoman in a sleeveless 
leather dress handed Hecker a 
second piece of chicken. "Look at 
the way she carries herself," she 
shouted. "Smug, provocative. 

“A constant worry to her fa- 
ther," shouted the greying woman 
on fleckers left. "Guerrilla war- 
fare is hard enough without try- 
ing to keep tabs on a snooty 
daughter with a mind of her 
own." She grabbed an avocado off 
the abundant banquet table, split 

it with a knife sheathed on her 
dappled thigh. She popped out 
the big egg-like seed and passed 
half the avocado to Hecker. "Eat 
this, Cousin Jim. You’re mighty 

“Just look at her," shouted the 
big woman. "Straight as a rail and 
no flesh to speak of. Are they par- 
tial to skinny women in your neck 
of the Republic, Cousin Jimmy?" 

Before Hecker could reply, one 
of the Kendry boys grabbed him 
away from the food corner of the 
ramshackled gymnasium and 
pulled him through half of the 
several hundred Kendrys jammed 
together on the yelloAV flooring. 
"Game, Cousin Jim," he shouted. 
A six-foot tall man, a shade over 
thirty, in a cut-down noga suit, 
his hair long in ringlets. “We're 
going to play pumpkin ball." 

"Okay by me," Hecker said. 

"Bet your ass," shouted the 
Kendry boy. 'Tm Rollo." 

"Good to know you. Cousin 

"Second cousin," said Rollo. 
"Eat up that avocado and hunk 
of chicken, and we’ll get going. 
See the basket up there?" 

Hecker tilted his head back. 
Up high in the smoke and haze, 
the old gymnasium basketball goal 
still hung. "That I do. Second 
Cousin Rollo." 

"The object of this game is to 
kick the pumpkins up through 
there. Fun for all concerned," He 
whacked Hecker and sent him 


into a circle of eight Kejidry boys. 
Three fat, orange pumpkins were 
huddled in the circle center. 
‘'Cousin Jim gets first kick.'' 

“I've already been promised it,'’ 
said Milo Kendry, who’d intro- 
duced himself earlier. 

“Bullshit," said Rollo. “Cousin 
James is our guest, you lout." 

“Don't ‘bullshit' me," replied 
Milo. He grabbed up the biggest 
pumpkin and smashed it on Kol- 
lo's head. 

“Don’t go spoiling the game," 
said another Kendry. He backed 
and kicked one of the remaining 
pumpkins. It rose up toward the 
metal-raftered ceiling, spun awk- 
wardly, fell toward the musicians' 

A dozen Kendrys were on the 
narrow makeshift platform, play- 
ing amplified fiddles and banjos. 
The Kendry with the hand micro- 
phone had been singing a song 
whose lyric consisted of the word 
“stomp" reiterated. The pumpkin 
dropped on the end of the mike 
and was impaled there. The sing- 
er went on singing. 

Rollo snatched a coil of rusty 
barbed wire out of his jacket 
pocket, wrapped it around his fist 
and swung on Milo. He roared, 
shook pumpkin seeds from his 
locks and slashed again. 

“You like to give me tetanus, 
you dummy," shouted Milo. 
“Lockjaw or something, you dumb 
bunny." He kicked Rollo in the 


Another Kendry pulled Hecker 
away from the thwarted game. 
“Hello, Cousin Jim. I'm your Un- 
cle Fred. What do you think 
about Jess’ last will and testa- 

“You mean Jane’s father?" 

“Jess left all his possessions to 
her, he says. I don't think he's 
ever been quite right since Jane's 
mother passed on. Army got her 
with that new gas they introduced 
that year," said Uncle Fred. He 
was broad and tall, but gone to 
fat. “Insurgents shouldn't have a 
girl up front. Women are more 
for homebody stuff. You feel like 
punching somebody around, a 
woman is handy for that, too. I 
use4 to like to stump them, but 
I'm aging beyond that. Women 
are okay for stumping but not to 
head a band of guerrillas. You get- 
ting enough to eat?" 

‘Tes, fine," said Hecker. 

“See these teeth,” said Uncle 
Fred, grinning. “My third set this 
month. Stole them in a raid on 
the Santa Monica Sector. These 
younger kids, their idea of fun is 
to kick an old man in the face. 
I don't mind their funning some, 
but it costs me a set of teeth every 
damn time. You get old and you 
get sentimental about your teeth. 
That will of Jess’, though, is a 
bad thing. Isn't that the way you 
see it?" 

“I figure Jess knows what he's 
doing." Hecker ducked a flying 
fragment of pumpkin. 



‘This conclave isn't like the 
ones we used to have," shouted 
Uncle Fred. 

A man with feathery white 
hair stepped up and tapped Un- 
cle Fred on the bicep. He was a 
straight-standing man, tall and 
leathery. “Complaining about 

“Just the food, Jess. Food’s not 
like it used to be. Chicken isn’t 
like it used to be. Potatoes aren’t 
like they used to be. Even the 
lettuce is different.’’ 

“You aren’t like you used to be 
either," said Jess Kendry, the lead- 
er of the clan and of the guer- 
rillas. He smiled at Heckcr. 
“Yourc supposed to be Cousin 


“Good to sec you," said Jess, 
holding out his hand. “Be sure 
and say hello to Jane.” He nar- 
rowed his left eye, said to Uncle 
Fred, “Jane’s a bright girl, a born 
leader. Fred’ll tell you that." 

“I already have, Jess." 

A grinning Kendry jumped on 
Jess’ back, and Jess, without look- 
ing around, bent and airplane- 
spinned the grinning Kendry oft 
and into the nearest wall. “There’s 
my daughter Jane over there. Trot 
overhand pay your respects. Cou- 
sin Jim." 

Hecker had noticed the girl 
before, had her pointed out by 
relatives in the crowd. She was 
tall, nearly five-feet eight, and 
slender. Her hair was darker now 

than in the days of the Rehab 
pictures. It was long and straight. 
She was wearing a pair of boy’s 
tapered khaki trousers and a 
sleeveless white pullover. Her tan 
face was slightly flushed. Hecker 
edged toward her. Sbmeone put 
a chicken wing in his hand, and 
someone else punched him in the 
kidneys. “Thought I’d introduce 
myself. Cousin Jane," said 

She had been standing silent, 
not looking at anything. She 
blinked her grey eyes and a slight 
smile touched her lips. “You’re 
Jim. I had somcthjng to discuss 
with you." 


“Problem of a lost cat." 

“His name is?" 

“Burrwick," she said. “He 
spends much of his time down at 
the waterfront." 

“Around Giacomo’s?" 

“That’s him." Her hand 
touched her arm. “Walk with me 
over by that exit and I can talk 
to you." 

“Fine," said Heckcr. 

She studied his face as they 
moved toward the arched door- 
way. “You didn’t get hurt here, 
did you?" 

“No, earlier," said Hecker. He 
had forgotten the traces of the 
hopper crash on his face. 

Jane stopped, back to the wall. 
“You know," she said quietly, 
“something about what we’re up 



‘Tou want to topple the Junta.” 

''And you work for them.” 

"The Social Wing isn't always 
obliged to agree with the Junta,” 
said Hecker. 

"Perhaps,” said the girl. "I took 
a chance on that. The Kendrys, 
and those whoVe joined us, are 
getting blamed for the riots. That 
kind of rebellion Fm not opposed 
to, if the motives behind it could 
be used by us. From what Fve 
picked up, these riots won't do 
us any good. They really are 
prompted by someone on the out- 
side. Someone who wants to use 
them against the Junta.” 

"You sure?” 

"I've gathered enough frag- 
ments of information to put to- 
gether a picture,” said Jane. 
"There are people in the Repub- 
lic of Southern California who 
think the Junta is much too mild. 
I'm afraid they're the ones behind 
the riots in the suburbs. Should 
they take over, which is a possibil- 
ity, conditions will grow even 
worse. Our attempts to get a good 
government for the Republic will 
be set back. It's difficult enough 

"Who,” asked Hecker, "do you 
think is behind these riots and 
how do they do it?” 

"The how I don't know,” Jane 
said. "As to who, the only name 
I have is not really a name. I 
keep hearing about somebody 
called Gadget Man,” 

"Gadget Man?” 

The girl said, "I know where 
you can start looking for a more 
definite lead. There’s some link 
between this Gadget Man and 
Nathan E. Westlake, though I 
haven't been able to investigate 
that yet. I feel it’s time to try to 
bring someone official in on this.' 

"Nathan E. Westlake, the for 
mer vice-president of the United 

"That Westlake, yes. Get to 
him and investigate. You should 
find out something.” 

"He's running that dance pa- 
vilion up in the Santa Monica 
Sector now . . .” began Hecker. 
He stopped, frowned at the band- 

Jane's glance followed his. 
"What is it?” 

"There, by the musicians,” he 
said carefully. "That's 2nd Lt. 

The girl caught his hand. "The 
Manipulation Council man? You 
didn't tell him to come here?” 

"No,” said Hecker. "No. I did 
call in a report to the Social Wing 
late this afternoon. They already 
knew, of course, that I had a 
contact to make someplace in San 
Emanuel. There must be a leak 
in SW somewhere.” He looked 
straight at her. "I didn't set you 
up. It is you Same wants, though.” 

The girl watched his face 
again. "Yes, okay, you aren't ly- 
ing. He must have men surround 
ing us.” 

"Maybe,” said Hecker. "Same 



usually likes to work alone or 
with a small complement of men.' 
Tactics he prefers to numbers.*' 

'"Come this way," she said. 
‘‘There's an emergency exit 
through that locker room. 1 doubt 
he’ll try to round up the whole 
clan. Dad and the boys can fight 
out of here, should they have to." 
She walked casually toward an 
archway marked Boys’ Locker 

“You have a place to hide for 

“ril," said Jane, “go with you. 
We can borrow transportation. 
I’ll go with you as far as West- 

Hecker did not disagree. 

They tumbled. Down a steep 
hillside that was rich with inter- 
locked palm trees and tangled 
vines. There were so many big 
scarlet-petaled flowers that Hecker 
could not run foward without 
scattering petals, grinding them to 
fragments. At the slope’s end Jane 
Kendry grabbed his hand and 
pulled him. “That passway be- 
tween the trees," she said. 

Above and behind them blaster 
rifles crackled and leaves and 
branches burned away to black 
dust. “I could talk to them," said 
Hecker, running with her into 
the shadows the trees made in the 
hot afternoon. 

“The army won’t talk,” said 
Jane. “On these patrols the sol- 

diers don’t talk. They just sweep 
through these disputed areas." 

Jane ran him off the pathways 
and in and around through un- 
derbrush. In and around where 
there seemed to be no way of 
passing but always was finally. 
Suddenly there was a wooden 
door in the jungle, masked almost 
completely by thick ferns and 
green brush. 

Hecker caught his breath, said, 
“I’m with the Police Corps after 

“You couldn’t get close enough 
to tell the soldiers," said the slen- 
der girl as they tugged the door 
open. “They shouldn’t spot us in 
here. They never have." 

“The army won’t run down an 
SW man from PC," said Hecker. 

“Stay out there and see then," 
said Jane and stepped through 
the doorway. 

Hecker followed. “Where are 
are we?" Jane closed the door, 
bolted it silently and pulled him 
down a long pastel-walled corri- 

“This is the Wheelan Studios, 
their writers’ building," said the 
girl. “That jungle back there isn’t 
aU Southern California gone to 
seed. That was the back lot, where 
they made jungle films. After the 
Chinese invasion and after most 
of the rest of the United States 
went through that economic col- 
lapse, this place closed down.” 

He dimly heard the half dozen 
orange- and yellow-uniformed sol- 



diers sweeping along the jungle 
paths far outside. There was a 
shout, craekling and burning from 
the blaster rifles. The men moved 
on, became increasingly distant 
sounds. '‘Safe,” said Heckcr. "We 
probably were all along.” 

"Even if you had been,” said 
Jane, "the military has orders to 
shoot me down. Which, I admit, 
is not your problem.” 

"The Junta has been toughen- 
ing its policies, Jane, but they 
haven’t issued any orders like 
that.” Heckcr shook his head. 
"They don’t shoot women down.” 

"Oh, sure.” Jane walked away, 
further into the building. "Look 
at this,” she called from a door- 
less office. 

On the top of a bright and tin- 
diisty metal desk was a dictating- 
typing unit, compact and 
chromed. "An antique,” said 
Hecker. "From what? — it must 
be the early 1980s.” 

"That’s right,” said Jane. "I 
fixed it so it’ll operate on an en- 
ergy cell.” 

"You use it?” 

She was squinting at the two 
framed pictures on the wall, one 
of an actress unknown to cither 
of them and one of a plump man 
in an old-fashioned sky-diving 
suit standing next to a brand-new 
1980 hopper. "Yes, I dictate 
things into it. I never did that 
wffien I was younger, kept a diary 
or anything.” She faced him, her 
head tilted and her smile quiet. 

Hecker nodded. The room’s 
high window showed jungle and 

Jane said, "Memoirs, I guess, 
reflections.” She rested against the 
desk, wiped her forehead with the 
side of her wrist. "Besides 2nd 
Lt. Same and the Manipulation 
Council, who wants me? Who 
has orders to bring me in?” 

"Nobody,” said Heckcr. "Not 
the Social Wing of the Police 

"Nor the rehab system either?” 

"That’s up to you. There’s a 
guy named Weeman who says you 
can come to him. Once a Rehab 
Center gives you a release, then 
neither the police nor the military 
can touch you. You’re clear. While 
you’re inside, you have sanctu- 

Jane traced the line of her jaw 
with her finger. "Dr. Weeman. I 
guess he was all right. He wanted 
to help. He didn’t understand our 

"You and your father’s cause?” 

"Not only ours,” replied the 
girl. "We have thousands of peo- 
ple in the Republic who sympa- 
thize with us. Only a small per- 
cent of the total population as yet, 
but we can eventually topple the 
Junta. The rest of the United 
States is still too screwed up to 
intervene, not for the next few 

"All your raids, forays,” said 
Hecker, "are aimed at hurting the 
Junta, at gaining control of the 



government and setting up a bet- 
ter system. That's what drives all 
the Kendrys, all the rest?" 

Jane folded her arms tight un- 
der her breasts. ‘‘I know you've 
had access to lots of files, back- 
ground material on the Kendrys. 
You didn't grow up with my 
father. You don’t understand 
him. His methods, his style." 


“We've terrorized towns, looted. 
We have to unsettle people, scare 
them into thinking. We can use 
the techniques of outlaws and 
bandits and still not be outlaws 
and bandits. My father is wild 
and strong," said the girl, “and 
not tied to an official pose. He's 
not afraid. You know who you 
are, and then you don’t have to 
apologize for what you do." 

Hecker watched the jungle. 
“Your father didn’t think you 
should tell the Social Wing what 
you knew about the Gadget Man, 
did he?" 

“No," said Jane. “As I said, 
you have to know my father. Have 
to know what he’s lived, and 
about my mother and what hap- 
pened. Then you could under- 
stand why he didn’t want me to 
tell anyone like you." 

“You didn't agree?" 

“I acted on my own, without 
telling him." 

“You are the leader of the guer- 
rilla operation, though?" 

“No, my father is. I help. I'm 
second." After a moment Jane 

said, “We’re about twenty-five 
miles from former Vice-President 
Westlake’s place, from the Don't 
Tread On Me electronic dance 
pavilion. I’ll take you there." 

“Same is looking for you." 

“Nobody knows I’m heading 
there, except my half-brother 
Jack," said Jane. “As far as my 
father knows. I’m off on one of 
my rambles. And you haven’t been 
filing any more reports, have 

“There hasn’t been much op- 
portunity," said Hecker. “Seems 
safer not to anyway. The Social 
Wing allows us to extemporize as 
the assignment calls for.” 

“Extemporize as the assignment 
calls for," said the girl, hugging 
herself tighter. “You qualify for 
what my father calls — a name he 
picked up as a boy — the ‘estab- 
lishment’. Why do you have to be 
so stiff and quiet?" 

Hecker scratched a spot be- 
tween his shoulder blades. “Look," 
he said, “we can sleep together 
right now. You don’t have to start 
an argument to get there." 

Jane remained motionless for 
several seconds, then lowered her 

The glass pavilion was filled 
with neon flags. They flashed red 
white and blue all around and 
overhead, interrupted by stars and 
night clouds that showed above 
the great glass-squared dome. Un- 
dulating around the upper walls. 



in multicolored translux, was the 
DANCE PAVILION. Below that, 
in electric cross-stitch, pulsed a 
Sian saving YOUR HOST: NA- 
AMERICA. On pedestals at twice 
eye level were android replicas of 
the past presidents of the United 
States. Just inside the wide door- 
way of the glass pavilion, his back 
to the three hundred dancing pa- 
trons, w as a small black man in a 
powdered wig and buckskin suit. 
“Welcome to the Don’t Tread On 
Me,” he said as Hecker and Jane 

“Good evening,” said Hecker. 

“I am,” said the black man, 
“Ralph E. Prickens. If you’re fans 
of American history you may re- 
member me as the first Negro Sec- 
retary of Defense.” 

“Didn’t your policies,” said 
Jane, wdio had borrowed a dark 
wdg from the abandoned movie 
studio, “lead to . . .” 

“The ultimate collapse of the 
United States government,” said 
Prickens. “It’s nice to be remem- 

“And there was,” added Heck- 
er, talking above the music, “tlie 
SFX scandal.” 

“Yes,” said the Negro, touch- 
ing his dusted wig. “That was a 
high point in my career.” 

“Was the SFX a fighter plane 
or a missile?” asked Jane. 

“Nobody was ever sure,” said 
Prickens. “That was part of the 
scandal. It w^as glorious in our 
nation’s capital in those days, 
w^hen w e still had a nation.” 

“Who,” asked Hecker, his hand 
on Jane’s arm lightly, “are 3011 
dressed as, Mr. Secretary?” 


“The wig is George Washing- 
ton,” said Jane and got a pleased 
nod from the Negro. “The buck- 
skin is Daniel Boone.” 

“To be eclectic and patriotic is 
very satisfying,” said Prickens, his 
head bobbing pleasantly. “When 
you tire of dancing, I’ll show you 
my Museum of Historical Ameri- 
can Weaponry. You two seem 
mature enough to appreciate the 
American past at its best.” 

There w^as a ratcheting crash 
far across the pavilion. Hecker 
pointed. “President Hoover just 
fell off his pedestal.” 

Prickens patted his wig and 
grinned. “Yes, he’s programed to 
do that. Customers get bored see- 
ing the andies just dance and 
make speeches.” 

“We’ve heard a lot about — 
though we’ve never been here be- 
fore — the former vice-president,” 
said Jane. “Is there any chance of 
getting a glimpse of Mr. Westlake 

“Up on the bandstand touch- 
ing his toes,” said the Negro. “It’s 
a new dance step the V.P. is 
working on. See him there? 
Touch your left toe, jump up. 



snap your fingers, touch your right 
toe, pat your fanny, snap your 
fingers, walk like a duck.” 

The bandstand in the Don't 
Tread On Me was mounted on 
four eagle-topped flagpoles and 
was filled with electronic musi- 
cians dressed like the Union Army. 
Former Vice-President Westlake, 
his familiar cigar in his mouth, was 
dancing in front of the Fender 
bass section, dressed as Abraham 
Lincoln. He lost his stovepipe hat 
in the midst of a frantic duck- 
walk and swung off the high plat- 
form, slid down a pole. On the 
red, white and blue mosaic dance 
floor he shrugged his Lincoln 
shawl off his shoulders and tow- 
eled it back and forth across his 

‘'He can relax more than he 
did in the White House,” said 
Prickens. ‘There he was too ham- 
pered and pressured.” He smiled 
suddenly at Hecker and Jane. 
‘Tou don't really want to dance 
now. Come see my museum first. 
I'll fetch the vice-president in, and 
you can shake his hand, and he 
might give you one of his souvenir 

They followed the former Sec- 
retary of Defense, zigzag, through 
the dancers, most of whom looked 
young and untroubled. Highlights 
in the life of Benjamin Franklin 
were carved on the door of the 
Museum of Historical American 
Weaponry. It was a dome, too, 
half as large as the dance pavil- 

ion. The weapons — muskets, M- 
16 s, cannons, bazookas, flintlocks, 
flamethrowers, grenades, and 
things not easily identifiable — 
were in great heaps on the mosaic 

“I haven't systematized this 
wealth of stuff yet,” admitted 
Prickens. He took off his pow- 
dered wig and exhaled. “To me 
the biggest thrill is in the collect- 
ing. Cataloging and sorting is en- 
ervating. Over in that area I have 
my planes. Bombers, fighters. I've 
been exceptionally lucky on war- 
planes lately, getting my hands 
on some truly nice items.'* He ges- 
tured at a half a dozen battered 
airplanes that made a vast winged 
heap against the far wall. Two of 
the planes were upside down; in- 
struments and wires hung down 
out of the open cockpit of one. 
“Come over and get a closer 

“Impressive,” said Hecker, as 
they drew closer to the mound of 

Up out of the cockpit of an 
ancient World War II fighter 
plane rose a lean grey man in a 
grey seamless suit. His face was 
long, sad, and his eyes were most- 
ly pockets. “Snared,” he said. A 
bright pistol, the newest weapon 
in the museum, was in his lean 
right hand and aimed at Hecker 
and Jane. 

“We got them good,” said 
Prickens. “I spotted them right 


'‘I have jurisdiction over this 
ease/’ Hecker told the man in the 
plane. ''What arc you up to. 

2nd Lt. Same of the Manipu- 
lation Council smiled, his face re- 
maining sad. "No, Hecker. MC 
doesn’t need to bother with proto- 
col and procedures. MC can cut 
through such. Besides,” he said, 
swinging out of the ship, "my in- 
terest in Miss Kendry is more 
than an expression of interest on 
the part of MC.” 

"I was wondering why you'd 
pull a gun on me,” said Hecker. 

"Exactly,” said Same. "I serve a 
variety of causes. The riot spon- 
sors are among those I work for. 
Questioning Miss Kendry will 
help me serve both. The riot mak- 
ers and Manipulation Council. As 
will eliminating her.” 

Jane took Hecker's hand, 
watching Same. "Who told you 
we'd come here?” 

Same dropped from tlie war- 
plane to the floor. "An awkward 
boy named Jack. He was the only 
one who seemed to know.” 

Jane moved sideways and ahead, 
hit Same across the mouth with 
her fist. 

2nd Lt. Same said, "Its some- 
times valuable to work out frus- 
trations physically.” 

Prickens grabbed the girl, say- 
ing, "Calm yourself, miss.” 

"They seemed to like the danc- 
ing,” said former Vice-President 
Westlake, who had come into the 


weapons dome while Jane was 
swinging on Same. "That Latin 
touch at the end drew a nice 
round of applause. Is this them?” 

"I want,” said the second lieu- 
tenant, "to find out what the girl 
knows and whom she’s told about 
it. I want to find out what the 
social worker knows and whom 
he's told about it.” 

Westlake’s double-chinned face 
was still deeply pink from the ex- 
ertion of dancing. "Did you bring 
your own interrogation equip- 
ment? Ralph's is always going on 
the fritz. It's that outmoded junk 
from the war with Brazil.” 

"I can't keep every single damn 
thing around here shipshape,” 
said Prickens. 

Smiling sadly, 2nd Lt. Same 
reached behind him for a small, 
pebbled tan case. "I always use 
my own.” 

Westlake got a fresh cigar go- 
ing. "Once Swingle takes over we 
won't have to worry about out- 
moded equipment.” 

"Don't mention his name,” said 
Same, his free hand setting the 
case on a pile of rifles. 

"Who's name? Swingle's?” 
asked Westlake. "One thing I 
learned in nearly eight long years 
in the White House, Same, is that 
it really doesn’t matter what you 
say in front of expendable peo- 

Prickens let go of Jane and 
moved closer to Same's interroga- 
tion case. Lie said, powdered wig 



in hand, ''Lets not squabble in 
front of company/' 

Hecker pushed Jane aside, 
said, "Take cover." He kicked 
Prickens' wig out of his hand and 
it sailed, hard, into Same’s face. 

The second lieutenant’s blaster 
crackled, cutting a rut across the 
side of a Sherman tank. 

Hecker then caught both ends 
of the vice-president’s shawl, 
tugged with alternate motions, 
and spun Westlake over into 
Prickens. The two men lost bal- 
ance and toppled into 2nd Lt. 
Same, who went over backwards 
and shot a square of blue glass 
out of the dome high above. 

Hecker drew his own pistol 
and sent a warning blast at the 
tangle of men. He vaulted a pile 
of gas masks and airplane helmets 
and found Jane. The slender girl 
was throwing dud hand grenades 
in the direction of Same. "Let’s 
leave,’’ Hecker said. 

They swung up a bazooka and 
used it as a ram to shatter out a 
section of the glass wall of the 
museum dome. Hecker fired again 
over his shoulder as Same, looking 
both sad and grim, got himself 
righted and ready to shoot. 

There was a fifty yard stretch 
of empty field, high grass, behind 
the dome. Hecker and Jane ran 
across it before 2nd Lt. Same 
could make his way through the 
souvenirs and reach the shattered 
place in the wall. 

There was a block of orna- 

mental forest next, then a few 
small beach cottages. In front of 
the second darkened house a hov- 
er scooter was parked. "Hold them 
off,’’ said Jane, "until I can job 
this thing.’’ 

"No sign of anybody yet." 

Jane picked the lock over the 
starting compartment of the two- 
seat scooter and had the machine 
going before the lights in the cot- 
tage came on full. 

The fog began to thin and the 
water to hghten. Jane turned 
away from Hecker and the bor- 
rowed grey blanket slipped off her 
shoulders. Hecker sat up, flexed, 
rubbed his head. A breakfast had 
started up nearby. Hecker sat 
watching the ocean, then studied 
the scatter of people camped on 
this stretch of unsecured beach. 

A Negro girl in a castoff Chi- 
nese commando uniform cocked a 
hand at him and mouthed the 
word coiEFee. Hecker gestured yes, 

Jane moaned once, sat up full 
awake. "Morning," she said. 

"Want some coffee?" Hecker 
asked, kneeling, resting his palm 
on the back of her neck. 

"Sure," she said. 

Hecker walked across the cold 
sand to the black girl. "Spare two 

"Easy. You know MarslofiF, 
don’t you?" When Hecker nod- 
ded, she said, "He’s parked in that 
tumbled-down penny arcade up 



the beach. He noticed you when 
he arrived last night. He says if 
you want a ride anywhere, you 
and Jane, ask him. Even if you 
don’t need one, step over and say 

With Jane again Hccker said, 
“Can we trust Marsloff? 

“Yes,” said Jane, taking a pew- 
ter mug of hot coffee from him. 

“He seems to be up the beach, 
offering us a lift.” 

“We’re still twenty miles from 
Swingleton,” said the girl. “It was 
a good idea to ditch the borrowed 
scooter where we did, but we can 
use new transportation/’ 

“Swingle, the man Westlake 
mentioned, still lives there?” 

“Far as I know.” Jane warmed 
her chin against the cup. “Erwin 
LeBeck Swingle. He was sup- 
posed to be the second richest 
man in the country, back when 
there was still a functioning Unit- 
ed States. It must be nearly thirty 
years ago or so that he bought up 
most of the Anaheim Sector and 
turned it into a model city for old- 
er ixiople.” 

“I’ve heard of him. He has to 
be about ninety,” said Hecker. He 
drank some of his strong coffee. 
“And he’s the kind of guy who 
could be tied in with Westlake 
and his patriotic pavilion.” 

“I wonder if Swingle is at the 
top of the riot makers.” 

“You mean, could Swingle be 
the Gadget Man?” 

“Sure, he is,” said Marsloff, 

who trotted ui^ to them now. “He’s 
a gadget man.” 

“Not a, the” Hecker shook 
hands with the big shaggy man. 

“That I don’t know,” said 
Marsloff. “Swingle is a gadget 
freak. Every once in a while when 
Perchcr comes up with something 
new in the way of gadget kicks, 
we go down to Swingleton and 
sell the thing to one of old Swin- 
gle’s reps. I’d estimate there are 
dozens of gadget freaks who sup- 
ply him.” 

Hecker asked, “Who do you 
contact in Swingleton?” 

“Never the old man himself. 
Him we’ve never seen.” Marsloff 
sniffed and started backing to- 
ward the girl with tlie coffee, still 
talking. “Swingle we’ve never 
seen. We go to the Club Repose. 
It’s a hot spot for senior citizens. 
We deal with the chef there.” 
The black girl put a cup of coffee 
in his hand, and he kissed her 
cheek, trotted toward Jane and 
Hecker. “This chef in the Club 
Repose is our contact man. His 
name is Joe Senco.” 

Hecker massaged his knuckles. 
“Could Percher work us up some- 
thing in the way of a gadget? It 
doesn’t have to be that original. 
Jane and I have to get inside 
Swingleton, near Swingle. I want 
something to use as a passport.” 

“You’re in luck.” Marsloff drank 
down his coflpee. “Because Perch- 
er is awake today and he was say- 
ing he’s in a creative mood.” 



Meeker grinned at Jane. 

Chef Scnco had six kettles go- 
ing on the giant stove. ''Gourmet 
eooking for people over eighty is 
a special kind of challenge/' he 
told Meeker and Jane. 

‘That smells good/’ said Jane, 
who had borrowed a pale blonde 
wig from a girl on the beach. 

“Oatmeal,” the chef told her. 
“Next to that diced beets. Then 
creamed tuna and minced spin- 
ach.” He paused and made a winc- 
ing motion. “That noise out there 
in the club itself keeps me in emo- 
tional turmoil. Shuffleboard and 
skittles should be played out in 
the fresh air.” He flat footed away 
from them, around his new butch- 
er table. Reaching up, he thumped 
hanging copper pans with both 
small fists, making noises to coun- 
ter those of the aged patrons of 
the Club Repose. “What did little 
Pcrcher send in with you?” 

From a paper sack Hecker took 
an electric weather house. “This 
gadget has the advantage of be- 
ing practically an antique. One of 
those little houses where the witch 
comes out if there’s going to be 
bad weather, two little blond kids 
for fair weather.” 

“Cute,” said Chef Senco. 
“What’s the gimmick?” 

“Notice the little figures/* 
Hecker explained. “Each one has a 
tiny needle attached now. This 
gadget combines the basic fun of 
Russian roulette with that of old- 

fashioned shock therapy. At least 
that’s how Pcrcher explains it. He 
wants $1000 for this.” 

“I tell you what,” said tlic chef, 
pointing at them witli a wooden 
spoon. “Pcrcher has been so swell 
in thinking up ideas that old man 
Swingle wants to express his 
thanks in person. It’s a real shame 
Pcrcher didn’t get in himself, but 
you two’ll do as substitutes at the 
little appreciation ceremony 
Swingle has in mind.” He shuf- 
fled to the stove. “Let me turn the 
heat down low and I’ll escort you 
into his presence.” 

“We’re honored,” said ‘Hecker. 

The tower was higher than the 
one at the Rehab Center, and its 
smoky windows kept the sunlight 
almost completely out. Closed just 
inside the doorway, Jane said, 
“Not too good.” 

“That’s what I thought when 
it turned out to be 2nd Lt. Same 
who opened the door,” said Heck- 

Far across the room, behind a 
wide, floor-standing beaded 
screen, 2nd Lt. Same was now 
talking to someone. At Hecker 
and Jane’s backs stood the chef, 
with a pistol resting against the 
string of his striped apron. 

“He’d like to meet you,” called 
Same, emerging from behind the 
screen. “You can get back to your 
kitchen, Joe.” 

The chef left and Hecker and 
Jane approached the screen. 



“We’ve been v^aiting to see 
what you’d do, Hecker. You have- 
n’t reported to the Social Wing 
since our encounter in the pavil- 
ion,” said Same. “I had expected 
you’d try a more indirect ap- 

“I figured,” said Hecker. 

“Nevertheless, I took precau- 
tions to cover the possibility of 
your walking right in.” 

Behind the screen they met Er- 
win LeBeck Swingle. There did 
not seem to be much left of him. 
His head, his left arm and his 
right leg to the knee. Everything 
else was chrome and vinyl, me- 
chanical parts. He was wired and 
bolted. Cords and hoses trailed 
away from him and wound intri- 
cately across the smooth floor be- 
hind him,. He was connected to 
an old computer that filled the 
rear wall, wired to a smaller con- 
sole computer, which 2nd Lt. 
Same leaned against. Swingle was 
linked, too, with a complex pump- 
ing mechanism that made an end- 
less seesaw noise. 

“Gadget Man,” said Jane softly. 

“My continued life,” said Swin- 
gle in a voice which didn’t seem 
to be coming from his mouth,” is 
a miracle.” 

“Of sorts,” said Hecker. 

The old man’s face was long, 
thin, infinitely wrinkled. “Trans- 
plants and spare parts have kept 
me alive. We abandoned human 
replacements — when was it, 

“Twenty years ago, sir.” 

“All machinery and gadgets 
now,” Swingle told them. “Gadg- 
ets were always a pleasure to me, 
and so I am pleased to be almost 
one myself. It’s a miracle. Or have 
I mentioned that? Have I, 

*Tes, sir.” 

“Two brains in addition to my 
own, to be on the safe side,” said 
the very old man, “and I still slip 
up. Age, you see. Age will try to 
trip you up no matter how slick 
and sly you are. I wager that when 
I am completely gadget. I’ll still 
be forgetful. Still shake now and 
again. She’s a pretty girl, isn’t 
she. Same? So tall and straight.” 

“She has bad posture, sir.” 

“No, a lovely stance.” The old 
man rubbed a metal part of him- 
self with his one real hand and 
produced a grating sound. “We’ll 
kill them both. I'm afraid. After 
you find out what they know and 
whom they’ve told.” A bubble rose 
from the bottom to the top of the 
large tank of yellow fluid connect- 
ed to the Gadget Man’s major 
pumping apparatus. 

“What,” asked Hecker, “are you 
actually up to?” 

“He hasn't time to explain,” 
put in Same. 

“Oh, I do,” said the old man. 
“I have time. I’m ninety-four, 
young people, and nowhere near 
dying. My purposes are simple. 
To overthrow the government of 
the Republic of Southern Califor- 



nia. To return this part of the 
state to its rightful paths. Then we 
will destroy the San Francisco En- 
clave. No hope of converting them 
to traditional American values. 
Always was that way up there, 
even when we had an America. 
Take over California. Have to de- 
stroy everyone in the Frisco En- 
clave. Don't call it Frisco. They 
used to say. I think Tve put the 
plan well. I have three brains to 
think with. Same is leaning on 
one of them with that smug look 
on his face. No balls. No balls, 
but he works like the devil. Like a 
gadget. We intend to rebuild 
America, young people. We'll 
have the whole glorious country 
again. Not as it was in the dread- 
ful 1970s and 1980s. No, as it 
was in an earlier day, a quieter 
day. I grew up in such a quiet 
place. There were almost three 
acres of land, trees and fields. My 
father — who has passed away, rest 
his soul — used to milk by hand. 
No machinery for him. That was 
a long time ago." 

Pumps, glass and metal, 
whirred and methodically ticked. 
'‘Why the riots?" Hecker asked 
the Gadget Man. 

“To terrorize the Junta," said 
Swingle. “It's only part of my 
plan. I am going to shift to more 
force soon, wdicn things get to 
collapsing a bit more." 

“How do you make the riots?" 
Jane asked. 

Swingle laughed, inside him- 

self someplace. "1 use the Chi- 

“What Chinese?" asked Heck- 
er. “The commandos?" He was 
still holding the weather house, 
and he tucked its bag up under 
his arm. 

“Not plural, singular," said the 
old man. “As a matter of fact, 
though, he was a commando. The 
Red Chinese were keeping him in 
reserve, but his unit got wiped 
out and never got to put him to 
use. We found him wandering, 
dazed and burned, in one of my 
orange groves. I Icarnpd what he 
could do, and I put him safe 
away until I was ready to use 
him. I'm immune to him. I made 
sure of that, too." 

“What can he do?" 

“He's a mass hypnotist," said 
Swingle. “His name is Lee Bock 
and we keep him locked up in tlie 
basement here." 

“What does he do?" 

“We pick a suburb. Set up our 
television cameras, unobtrusively, 
and provide Lee Bock with as- 
sorted monitor pictures of the 
place. Wc also give him ordnance 
maps, chamber of commerce cir- 
culars and other details about the 
suburb in question. Then Lee 
Bock concentrates and concen- 
trates and wills the people to riot. 
He's a mystic. He didn't even want 
to be a commando. They con- 
scripted him. If he doesn't do 
what we tell him, we don't feed 
him. Same is immune to Lee 



Bock, one of the reasons I let him 
work for me, and he has ways of 
persuading Lee Bock to make riots 
for us.” 

"Hes right here in the base- 
ment?” asked Jane. 

'Tes,” said the Gadget Man. 

Xurious,” said Hecker. He 
rocked forward and overhanded 
the packaged weather house into 
the open glass tank of Swingles 
biggest pump. The witch figure 
fell free and bounced out of the 
tank and into the wires and cir- 
cuitry next to it. 

Hollow thunking bubbles be- 
gan to form in the tank, and parts 
of the pump started buzzing and 
creaking. *'Not them,” gasped 
Swingle, waving 2nd Lt. Same's 
rising pistol down. ^'Attend to me 

"But, sir?” 

Hecker took Jane's hand and 
they ran around to the other side 
of the screen. They stopped and 
pushed flat-handed until the big 
screen began to teeter and rock. 
One final grunting shove and 
they got the screen to topple over 
onto Same and Swingle. 

"Downstairs,” said Hecker. 

Beneath the beaded screen 
were sounds of breaking and sput- 
tering, fizzling and splashing, ofip- 
key whirs and running down 

The basement was confused. 
The lighting, overhead tubes and 
strips meant to glow pale orange, 

was flickering and going off. Doors 
were opening and closing on their 
own, swishing and clicking. Door 
chimes seemed to be ringing in 
hundreds of rooms throughout the 
tower. Three attendants in pale 
lemon, ran by Hecker and Jane 
and up a ramp. "A government 
raid,” panted one of them. "It 
must be.” 

A door slid open at the mo- 
ment Hecker passed it. In the low, 
shadowy room sat an old Chinese 
man in a white bathrobe with no 

"You are Hecker,” said the Chi- 
nese, a tall man with a faint bend 
to him. 

"Yes. You're Lee Bock?” 

"I am.” He left the scuffed- 
leather armchair he'd been sitting 
in and picked up a small towel- 
tied bundle from the matted floor. 
"I foresaw your arrival and was 
waiting. All this building’s mech- 
anisms are connected with Swin- 
gle. Another egocentric touch of 
his. Your monkey wrenching has 
botched the entire structure. How 
do you do, Jane Kendry?” 

"Fine, yourself?” 

"Weary,” said Lee Bock. "We 
can leave now.” 

The lane outside tlie tower 
was lined with artificial orange 
trees in blossom. "They'll come 
after us before we can clear the 
outskirts of Swingleton,” said 

"I have thought about that,” 
said Lee Bock. His robe ballooned 



and his paisley shorts flashed for 
an instant. ‘'As a diversion, Ucck- 
er, I will cause a riot. My last in- 
surrection.” He halted beneath an 
orange tree. “Stand close to me, 
rest }our hands on my shoulders 
so you won’t run the risk of being 
affected by the impulses I will 
create.” They did, and Lee Bock 
closed his eyes and gripped his 
elbows. A full minute went by. 
“We can proceed,” said the Chi- 
nese mystic. “There should be suf- 
ficient diversions.” 

From the dental clinic on their 
right came a shatter of glass, and 
then thousands of tooth x-rays 
fluttered out of an upper window. 
At the golf course next to the 
clinic, a foursome of knickered old 
men began chasing a grounds 
keeper with their irons. Old wom- 
en were abandoning their patios, 
starting to conspire in larger and 
larger groups beneath rustic lamp 

“Do you get the whole popula- 
tion?” Hecker asked as they be- 
gan to run in a direction opposite 
to that of the growing crowds. 

“No,” said Lee Bock. “Only 
those who arc really dissatisfied 

Fires began to burn all around 

The Chinese mystic had his 
robe spread as a blanket on the 
afternoon sand. He was sitting 
with his hands on his knees, bent 

foiAvard. “You should not return 
to your profession just yet, Heck- 
er,” said Lee Bock. 

Crouched next to Jane on tlic 
unsecured beach, Hecker asked, 
“W'hat do you mean?” 

“I am able to see,” said the old 
Chinese, “that you cannot trust 
your superiors. Nor, I am afraid, 
is Therapist-in-Chief Weeman to 
be trusted. Were you to bring 
Jane Kendry to Weeman’s Rehabili- 
tation Center, she would be turned 
over to the Manipulation Coun- 

“I don’t believe that,” said 

“It is true,” said Lee Bock. “Al- 
though the Junta is not in favor 
of the suburban riots, they are even 
less in favor of the Kendrys. Jane 
Kendry will be executed, quietly 
and not officially, if she comes 
near a Rehab Center or any mem- 
ber of the Police Corps above the 
rank of lieutenant. You didn’t 
know this, Hecker. Manipulation 
Council has long controlled the 
Police Corps. You have actually 
been working for them.” 

“I didn’t know that,” said 
Hecker, rising, “I’m still not sure 
I can believe you.” 

“Think about what has been 
happening to you,” said the Chi- 
nese. “Examine yourself and your 
feelings. Then decide.” 

Flecker looked at Jane. She 
smiled quietly. “Okay,” he said — 
and sat down beside her. ◄ 


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SF Bargains. List free. Werewolf Bookshop, 
Verona 4G, Pa. 15147. 

RARE, USED, OUT-OF-PRINT SF, Fantasy, Horror. 
Free lists. The Haunted Bookshop, Box 311, Hew- 
lett, N. Y. 11557 

SF-FANTASY books for sale. Gordon Barber, 35 
Minneapolis Ave., Duluth, Mn. 55803 

Only a few copies left. Mercury Mysteries 4 for 
$1. Mercury, Box 271, Rockville Centre, N.Y, 

HORROR books— free samplel Trans-International, 
Box 85 Totowa, N. J. 07512. 

BRADBURY FANS: interested in establishing 
fanzine devoted to tales of autumn nightmares, 
summer dreams, reviews, et al? Send inquiries, 
contributions, manuscripts— THE GREEN TOWN 
REVIEW, 27^ Crescent Drive, Yorktown, N.Y. 
10698. $3.00 yearly. Make checks, money orders 
payable to Dennis Raimondo. 

★ ★ 


★ ★ 


professional magazine devoted to all phases of 
mystery fiction. Murder, robbery, phychological 
terror, etc. Featuring stories by the best in the 
United States and Europe! Interviews, editorials, 
orticles, book reviews by Luther Norris of the 
Praed Street Irregulars, and much, much more! 
Send $1.00 for the first two issues to: Hugo R. 
Blanco, 3446 N.W. 17th Street, Miami, Florida 
33125 (Dept. F). 

SF MAGAZINES— send list of issues wanted for 
prices. Midtown Books, 2220 Fletcher, Chicago, 
Illinois 60618. 


FREE BOOK "990 Successful, Little-Known Busi^ 
nesses." Work home! Plymouth, 235-P, Brooklyn. 
New York 11218. 


3-D-Chess Rules $2; U.S., Canada 3-D-Chess 
Club $2/yr; 3-D-Ches$ Boards $18; Address: 
Box 6531 B, Hampton, Virginia 23366. 

Chess rules for four players (one gameboard), 
with illustrations. Chess' fascination plus! $2.95. 
Quadra-chess, P. O. Box 4426, San Rafael, Calif, 


FREE Hypnotism, Self-Hypnosis, Sleep learning 
CatalogI Drawer G4(X), Ruidoso, New Mexico 

Free Illustrated, Hypnotism Catalogue. Write 
Powers, 8721 Sunset, Hollywood, California 

LEARN WHILE ASLEEP, Hypnotize with your 
recorder, phonograph. Astonishing details, sen- 
sational catalog free. Sleep-learning Research 
Association, Box 24-FS, Olympia, Washington, 

Do you have something to advertise to sf readers? Books, 
magazines, typewriters, telescopes, computers, space-drives, or 
misc. Use the PA5F Market Place at these lew, low rates: $3.00 
for minimum of ten (10) words, plus 30< for each additional 
word. Send copy end remittance to: Adv. Dept., Fantasy and 
Science Fiction, 347 East S3 Street, New York, N. Y. 10022 



FORMER GENIUS, 22, lonesome. Brain turning 
into liverwurst. Help! Willie, Box 34, Rt. 2 , 
Comanche, Texas 76442. 


CALIFORNIA acreage. $20 down; $20 monthly. 
Lands, Box 35291, Los Angeles, 90035. 


500 DIFFERENT STAMPS, $1.00. Smith, 508-Z 
Brooks, College Station, Texas, 77840. 


FOREIGN EDITIONS of Fantasy and Science Fic- 
tion. A few copies of British, French, Spanish, 
German, and Italian editions available at 60^ 
each; any four for $2.— Mercury Press, Box 271, 
Rockville Centre, N.Y. 11571. 

Moon Charts. Mercator's proj., English Russian 
index. Forms a 7-by-5 Ft. wall chart. Incl. is a 
copy of U.S. Far-Side chart for comparison and 
a U.S. Army index sheet of 5,000 formations. A 
fantastic Lunar offer. $8.00 postpaid. Herbert S. 
Ross, Box 117, South Walpole, Mass. 02071, 
U.S.A. (Dept. F.S.) 

Dulcimers, Box 566FS, Boulder, Colo. 80302. 

THE MOON FOR SALE: Genuine Tektites, aero- 
dynamically scultured, believed to be fragments 
of the moon's crust ejected by meteoric impact; 
$5.00 postpaid for nice collector's suite of 
speciments. Anglomex, Inc., 214 East 18th Street, 
New York City, 10003. 

STAINED Glass Kit: Everything necessary for 
learning the art of leaded glass windows, panels, 
medallions, etc. $14.95 postpaid. Stained Glass 
Club, 482 Tappan Road, Northvale, N.J. 07647. 

Revealing! Latest research on Sleep, Life Aging, 
Origin of Races. Sleep whenever desired! Remain 
young! Predict intelligence by shape of nose! 
Send $6.25: Raoul ELKAN, 807 Riverside Drive, 
N. Y., N. Y. 10032. 


A market is people— alert, intelligent, active people. 

Here you can reach 180,000 people (averaging three readers per copy 
— 60,000 paid circulation). Many of them arc enthusiastic hobbyists — 
collecting books, magazines, stamps, coins, model rockets, etc. — actively 
interested in photography, music, astronomy, painting, sculpture, elec- 

If you have a product or service of merit, tell them about it. The price 
is right: $3.00 for a minimum of ten (10) words, plus 30^ for each 
additional word. To keep the rate this low, we must request remittance 
with the order. 

Advertising Dept., Fantasy & Science Fiction 

347 East 53 St., New York, N. Y. 10022 


Anthony, Piers: Sos The Rope — 

1st of 3 parts July 4 

2nd of 3 parts Aug. 26 

3rd of 3 parts Sept. 45 

Apollinaire, Guillaume: Re- 
mote Projection July 92 

Asimov, Isaac: Key Item July 76 

Segregationist Oct. 80 

Science: Little Lost Satellite . . July 106 

The Terrible Lizards Aug. 91 

The Dying Lizards Sept. 108 

Little Found Satellite .... Oct. 97 

The Planetary Eccentric . . . Nov. 91 

View From Amalthea .... Dec. 88 

Books July 53 

Barr, Stephen: The Evapora- 
tion of Jugby Sept. 100 

Miss Van Winkle Dec. 63 

Brody, Larry: Ultimate De- 
fense July 80 

Bunch, David R.: A Scare in 

Time Sept. 119 

Carew, Virginia: Books July 53 

Clarke, Arthur C.: Possible, 

That’s All (article) Oct. 63 

Cleeve, Brian: The Devil and 

Jake O’Hara Aug. 6 

The Devil in Exile Nov. 50 

de Camp, L. Sprague: Faunas 

(verse) Sept. 94 

Delany, Samuel R.: 2001 A 
Space Odyssey (film re- 
view) Aug. 61 

Dorman, Sonya: Dance Music 

For A Gone Planet Oct. 62 


Ellison, Harlan: Try A Dull 

Knife Aug. 61 

Emshwiller, Ed: 2001 : A Space 

Odyssey (film review) .... Oct. 70 

Gilbert, Dorothy: Lost 

(verse) Dec. 81 

Goulart, Ron: The Ghost Pa- 
trol Oct. 85 

Gadget Man (novelet) Dec. 100 

Grant, C. L.: The House of 

Evil Dec. 22 

Harris, Joseph: A Score for 

Timothy Nov. 70 

Henderson, Zenna: The In- 
delible Kind (novelet) .... Dec. 34 
Herzog, Tom: Investigating the 

Curiosity Drive Nov, 81 

Howard, Hayden: Beyond 

Words July 117 

Hughes, Robert J.: Books .... Oct. 23 

Jacobs, Harvey: The Wide 

World of Sports Oct. 37 

Jesby, Ed: Ogre! (novelet) .... Sept. 5 

Jones, D. F.: Coffee Break Oct. 52 

Kelley, Leo P.: Coins Nov. 61 

Koontz, Dean R.: The Psy- 
chedelic Children July 64 

The Twelfth Bed Aug. 51 

Lanier, Sterling E.: Soldier 

Key (novelet) Aug. 104 

The Kings of the Sea Nov. 112 

Laumer, Keith: Once There 

Was A Giant (short novel) . Nov. 5 

McAllister, Bruce: Prime- 

Time Teaser Dec. 5 

Merril, Judith: Books Aug. Dec. 

Murphy, Phyllis: Time Was . . Oct. 32 

Niven, Larry: The Meddler 

(novelet) Oct. 4 

O’Donnell, K. M.: Death to 

the Keeper (novelet) Aug. 66 

Russ, Joanna: Books July 53 

Saberhagen, Fred: Young Girl 
' at an Open Half-door .... Nov. 103 
Silverberg, Robert: The Fangs 

of the Trees Oct. 109 

Sladek, John: The Sublima- 
tion World July 103 

A Report on the Migrations of 

of Educational Materials Dec. 70 

Slesar, Henry: The Moving 

Finger Types Sept. 112 

Thomas, Gilbert: Butterfly Was 

15 Sept. 39 

Tushnet, Leonard: The Worm 

Shamir Dec. 77 

White, Ted: Books Oct. 23 

Wilson, Gahan: Books Oct. 23 

Cartoons July - Dec. 

Harry’s Golden Years Sept. 95 


Zhe JmprM of Quality 

(since 1937) 


Fantasy and 
Science Fiction 

F&SF’s readers are both young (84% under 45) ana 
educated (62% have attended college). When they want 
relaxation or stimulation in reading, they turn to the 
best works of imagination and to FANTASY AND SCIENCE 
FICTION. “F&SF regularly supplies the finest the field 
has to offer in the way of short fiction”— Clifton Fadiman. 
Compelling fiction, along with informative and stimulating 
features on Books (Judith Merril) and Science (Isaac 
Asimov), have earned F&SF its reputation as tops in the field. 

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